NEOLECTA is a genus of ascomycetous fungi that have fruiting bodies
in the shape of unbranched to lobed bright yellowish, orangish to pale
yellow-green colored, club-shaped, smooth, fleshy columns up to about
7 cm tall. The species share the English designation "Earth tongues"
along with some better-known fungi (e.g.
with a similar general form, but in fact they are only distantly
Neolecta is the only genus belonging to the family NEOLECTACEAE,
which is the only family belonging to the order NEOLECTALES.
Neolectales, in turn, is the only order belonging to the class
NEOLECTOMYCETES, which belongs to the subdivision
Neolecta is found in Asia, North America, Northern Europe and
southern Brazil. The species all live in association with trees, and
at least one, N. vitellina, grows from rootlets of its host, but it
is not known whether the fungus is parasitic , saprotrophic , or
mutualistic . It is said to be edible.
Neolecta does not have any close relatives. Phylogenetically, it
weakly clusters with a bizarre group of basal
Taphrina , a dimorphic, half yeast , half filamentous genus parasitic
on leaves, branches, and catkins ,
Schizosaccharomyces , a genus of
fission yeasts (e.g.
Schizosaccharomyces pombe ), and
Pneumocystis , a
yeast-like genus of mammalian parasites.