• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • ENPreliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Pleurotus magnificus Rick

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Scientific name
Pleurotus magnificus
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Assessed
Preliminary Category
EN A3c
Proposed by
Nelson Menolli Jr
Genivaldo Alves-Silva, Felipe Bittencourt, Nelson Menolli Jr
E. Ricardo Drechsler-Santos, Kelmer Martins da Cunha

Assessment Notes


Pleurotus magnificus is an edible species known only from 9 sites within altitude areas in the Araucaria Forest province, being expected to be restricted to these areas and conditions. The species is consumed by local populations, being its use considered safe. It is considered rare throughout its range, as it produces conspicuous basidiomata and a great sampling effort has been made in its habitat. Recent efforts in Araucaria Forest areas has been made in Southern Brazil and the species was not found. Pleurotus magnificus habitat is severely fragmented and has suffered a historical and continuous loss of area that reached ca. 90% of its original cover area (Ribeiro et al., 2009; Global Forest Watch 2020), mainly due to anthropogenic disturbances. The total population size is estimated at 8750 mature individuals occurring in one subpopulation. A 50% population decline is expected to be met in the next 40 years, which reflects a loss of habitat area and quality as consequences of climate change. Based on the predicted population size loss to be met, P. magnificus is considered Endangered under A3c.


Taxonomic notes

Pleurotus magnificus Rick was described by Rick (1906) from a material collected in Southern Brazil, Rio Grande do Sul state. Previous records to Brazil as Pleurotus dryinus (Pers.: Fr.) P. Kumm. most likely represents P. magnificus.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Geographic range

Pleurotus magnificus is a edible wood-decaying species that is believed to be restricted to Araucaria Forest at altitudes exceeding 800-1,000 m above sea level (asl) in Southern and Southeastern Brazil with records to the states of Minas Gerais, Paraná, Rio Grande do Sul, Santa Catarina, and São Paulo. Although the species is mainly associated with Araucaria Forest areas, it could be occurring in other Atlantic Forest regions near the Araucaria Forest province. Additionally, the species was never found in other Atlantic Forest provinces that do not intersect with the Araucaria Forest, despite high sampling effort in the biome. The exact sites of the records include the municipalities of Canela and São Leopoldo in Rio Grande do Sul, Lages and Três Barras in Santa Catarina, Gonçalves and Itamonte in Minas Gerais, Guarapuava in Paraná, and São Bento do Sapucaí in São Paulo.

Population and Trends

Pleurotus magnificus is currently known for 9 sites. Although the species produces large (up to 20cm in diameter) and conspicuous basidiomata, it was recorded few times, even in intensively sampled areas such as Araucaria Forest patches in Southern Brazil. Thus, P. magnificus is considered a rare species. All of the species occurrences are restricted to the Araucaria Forest province in altitude areas between 800 and 1700 m.a.s.l., being expected to be restricted to areas with similar habitat and conditions throughout the Araucaria Forest province. There are an estimated 350 sites where the species may be found, each containing up to 25 mature individuals. The total population is estimated at 8750 mature individuals all in one subpopulation. The species habitat has suffered a historical and continuous loss of area that reached ca. 90% of its original cover area (Ribeiro et al., 2009; Global Forest Watch 2020), mainly due to anthropogenic disturbances. Additionally, the Araucaria Forest province is composed of small fragments (<50 ha), which decreases the habitat quality for the species. The population is considered to be in decline, and a further decline of 50% is expected to be met in the next 40 years (three generations).

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

This species is a wood-decaying fungus with large basidiomata (up to 20 cm diam. pileus) growing gregarious, scattered to caespitose on large dead trunks of gymnosperms and angiosperms (e.g. Psidium sp., see Rick 1906). Based on the known occurrence of the species and long term sampling in the Atlantic Forest, it is expected that the species is restricted to high altitude areas (above 800-1000 m.a.s.l) within the Araucaria Forest province, and to a lesser extent in transient areas with neighboring provinces.

Subtropical/Tropical Moist Montane Forest


Pleurotus magnificus is mainly threatened by habitat area and quality loss. The species is expected to be restricted to the Araucaria Forest province, a highly disturbed formation that has suffered a historical loss of ca. 90% of its original cover area (Ribeiro et al., 2009).  The species habitat is still suffering an ongoing decline (Global Forest Watch 2020), with remaining areas composed by small fragments (<50 ha), which are surrounded by croplands and anthropogenic grasslands (Global Forest Watch 2020). Furthermore, only a small percentage of the remaining fragments are within legal protected areas (Indrusiak and Monteiro 2009). The Araucaria Forest province is restricted to high altitude areas with specific climate conditions that will be severely impacted by climate change, with a projected loss of 60% by 2070 (Castro et al., 2019).


Housing & urban areasScale Unknown/UnrecordedScale Unknown/UnrecordedScale Unknown/UnrecordedHabitat shifting & alteration

Conservation Actions

The main action to conserve the species is the protection of the remaining habitat fragments cover and quality via public policies to create and maintain new conservation units. Additionally, as species within Pleurotus are easily isolated and cultivated, the genetic diversity of P. magnificus could be preserved in-vitro in ex-situ conservation strategies.

Resource & habitat protectionGenome resource bankNational level

Research needed

As P. magnificus is a wild edible species, more efforts are needed to understand if it could be cultivated. Also, future research should address the possible impact of foraging in the species population if it becomes widely known for its edibility. Further efforts should be made to better understand the species specific climate requirements, as well as to confirm the species generation length and its host preferences.

Population size, distribution & trendsLife history & ecologyHarvest, use & livelihoodsHarvest & Trade Management Plan

Use and Trade

The species is known for its edibility, being consumed by local populations where the species occur.

Food - human


Castro, M.B., Barbosa, A.C.M.C., Pompeu, P.V., Eisenlohr, P.V., Pereira, G. de A., Apgaua, D.M.G., Pires-Oliveira, J.C., Barbosa, J.P.R.A.D., Fontes, M.A.L., dos Santos, R.M. and Tng, D.Y.P. 2020. Will the emblematic southern conifer Araucaria angustifolia survive to climate change in Brazil? Biodiversity Conservation 29: 591–607.

Global Forest Watch. 2020. Interactive Forest Change Mapping Tool. Available at: http://www.globalforestwatch.org. (Accessed: 15 Jan 2024).

Indrusiak, C. and Monteiro, S. 2009. Unidades de Conservação na área de distribuição da Araucária. In: Fonseca, C.R., Souza, A.F., Leal-Zanchet, A.M., Dutra, T.L., Backes, A. and Ganade, G. (eds), Floresta com Araucária: ecologia, conservação e desenvolvimento sustentável, pp. 253–265. Holos, Ribeirão Preto.

Ribeiro, M. C., Metzger, J. P., Martensen, A. C., Ponzoni, F. J., & Hirota, M. M. (2009). The Brazilian Atlantic Forest: How much is left, and how is the remaining forest distributed? Implications for conservation. Biological conservation, 142(6), 1141-1153.

Rick J. (1906). Pilze aus Rio Grande do Sul (Brazilien). Broteria 5:5–53.

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted