Studies in Xylariaceous fungi undertaken during the 19th century have
been resumed by modern taxonomists and the knowledge of these fungi
has been considerably improved through recent major works. Unfortunately,
this literature is usually not easy to read and the amateur
mycologists are often reluctant to enter the fascinating world of these
lignicolous Pyrenomycetes. On the other hand, on condition that they are
able to identify what they collect, amateurs often prove to be able to
provide the scientists, who usually lack time for fieldwork, with
interesting material or collecting data.
The aim of this work is to present an illustrated taxonomic tool open
to amateurs, allowing reliable identification of European Hypoxylon
taxa and related genera, and to give ecological data observed in the
region prospected by the authors. We hope that, identifying those taxa
becoming easier for more mycologists, the knowledge of their taxonomy,
distribution and ecological requirements may be improved.
Since its creation by Bulliard in 1791, the concept of Hypoxylon
has been used in a very wide sense by various authors and Hypoxylon
is an earlier name for many boliniaceous, dyatripaceous or
xylariaceous fungi (see
Ju and Rogers, 1996, for synonymy).
Until recently, modern authors (
Petrini and Müller, 1986,
Petrini and Rogers, 1986,
Granmo et al., 1989,
Mathiassen, 1989) proposed and used a narrower concept, including only xylariaceous
fungi having multiperitheciate stromata that are not stalked nor with
concentric fibrous rings.
In their recent work of major importance,
Ju and Rogers (1996) proposed a narrower
delimitation of the genus Hypoxylon Bull.,
based on stromatal
anatomy and pigments and on anamorphs. They followed Pouzar who separated
the genera Biscogniauxia Kuntze (1979, 1986)
and Nemania S.F.
Gray (1985 a, 1985 b) from Hypoxylon and Lćssře and Spooner who
reinstated Euepixylon Füisting (1994),
and they segregated
Entoleuca Syd.(1996) and
The Xylariaceae family poses a number of puzzling problems
as to evolution, relations with hosts including endophytism,
adaptation to dry environments and other ecological aspects,
which have drawn attention of
L. & O. Petrini (1985),
Rogers (1979; 1985; 2000)
Whalley (1996).These authors
summarized the current knowledge about taxonomy and ecology
of Xylariaceae, but concurrently raised new questions involved
by the curious relations of most of members of this family with
Additional data about phylogeny and generic delimitations
within Xylariaceae were recently brought by molecular studies
Sánchez-Ballesteros et al. (2000) and
Triebel et al. (2005).
Results of studies on secondary metabolites
and their taxonomic consequencies are dealt with in a
further chapter (Chemotaxonomy).
The present work should be considered as an illustrated complement
of the above studies, regarding European taxa.