The occurrence of ectomycorrhizal fungi in West African rain forest systems is demonstrated and linked to the presence of a range of caesalpinoid legumes and to members of the genus Uapaca. The vast array of boletes, members of the Russulaceae and Amanitaceae, and chanterelles is described. The virtual absence of ectomycorrhizal Cortinariaceae is emphasised. After an overview three separate yet interlinked studies are described: a survey of ectomycorrhizal fungi throughout the region (Thoen): ectomycorrhizal fungi of a single rain forest community (Watling) and the significance and relationships of the genus Russula in the Guinea–Congo Region (Buyck). Some comparisons are made with other rain forest areas of the world.