Corner’s “Boletus in Malaysia” revisited

Corner’s “Boletus in Malaysia” revisited

Horak Revision of Malayan BoletalesAlmost forty years have passed since E. J. H. Corner published his “Boletus in Malaysia”, one book which even nowadays remains an invaluable source for those studying the boletes in the tropics and the subtropics. After 1996 the mycologist Egon Horak undertook a revision of the Malayan bolete collections of the late Corner. Coping with old and often poorly preserved materials is a difficult and laborious task. The reexamination of authentic materials is however vital to justify the application of a name, a matter being of even greater importance in this case of a book that is still the primary guide to the boletes of this part of the world.

Horak’s study covers a total of 160 bolete taxa, grouped in three different categories, namely “Accepted species” (124 taxa), “Doubtful species” (22) and “Rejected, excluded or invalid species” (14). All taxa considered are keyed out in sets of dichotomous keys placed in the beginning of the each of the above three sections. In addition a key is provided to the boletoid species described by Patouillard & Baker from Singapore. As noted by the author himself, this is not really convenient, but a necessary subdivision considering the very heterogeneous results obtained by the revision.

The information set for each taxon includes its current name and nomenclator with its basionym and synonyms, supplemented by essential literature. Further on the information about the type material studied is listed followed by translation of the original description and by data on the ecology of the taxon. At the end the results of the revision of the studied material are summarized, presenting microscopic characters and author’s remarks. It would have been probably useful if the measurements of the microscopic structures were supplied with information on the number of structures measured. The descriptive information is supplemented with quality illustrations of essential microscopic characters in the majority of the species.

The revision inevitably led the author to the reconsideration of many taxa. Corner recognized only four bolete genera, and the majority of the taxa were accommodated by him in Boletus s. l. This prompted E. Horak to propose a number of new combinations and new names; I counted a total of 80. Probably here is the place to say that an index of the new names and combinations somewhere at the end of the book would have been greatly appreciated, it would have been very convenient for indexing purposes; adding a fly-out is now a possible option. Along with the transfers, six new names (nomina nova) are also introduced by this revision, although it seems that the name Boletus (Xerocomus) microspermus Corner & E. Horak [sic!] may fall under art. 33.1 of the ICBN. There are some minor discrepancies, for example the new name Rubinoboletus globisporus Horak is listed in the index as “Rubinoboletus globisporus (Corner) Horak”.

I would like to congratulate both the author and the publisher for presenting this valuable book to the scientific community. It is concise and necessary supplement to Corner’s work and it will certainly serve boletologists in their effort to describe the bolete diversity. It is nowadays clear that the bolete mycota of this part of the world may give answers to the many questions in the bolete evolution and systematics. There might be little doubt that Horak’s work will stimulate further study of the boletes in Southeast Asia and the adjacent regions.

Bibliographic details:

Horak, E. 2011. Revision of Malaysian species of Boletales s. l. (Basidiomycota) describeb by E. J. H. Corner (1972, 1974). – Malayan Forest Records 51: 1–283; figs 1–127. Hardcover. ISBN 978-967-5221-55-2.