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Elaphomyces virgatosporus is an extremely rare European endemic hypogeous fungus forming ectomycorrhiza with hazel (Corylus) and other deciduous trees in calcareous, broadleaved forest with long history of forest coverage in climatically favourable situations. The species seems to have high requirements and a very narrow ecological niche, only occurring on “hot-spot locations”.
Very few severely fragmented localities are known and the subpopulations are very small and confined to a rare, fragmented and threatened habitat. The major threats to the species habitat are: 1) felling and other silviculture activities replacing the original vegetation with other forest-types and 2) habitat loss caused by urban development. Despite extensive searches, the number of known sites the total number of sites is estimated to be less than 50. The habitat of E virgtatosporus of has continuously been declining over last millennia and represents a habitat not formed any longer.Due to its rareness hypogeic nature, dispersal and establishment is unlikely to occur (not recorded).
The species is assessed as Critically Endangered under D due to a very small and restricted population.
The species was originally described from thermophilous forests in Hungary.
The hypogeous fungus Elaphomyces virgatosporus is a very rare ectomycorrhizal fungus with perennial ascocarps. Only a few scattered observations are known from Europe and one in US (Mississippi). The US report has been considered to represent ”an ancient, relict species originating from ages prior to the continental drift” but according to M. Castellano the American material is not E. virgatosporus. The last 30 years, the hypogeous mycoflora in northern Europe has been intensely investigated but this species is very rarely found. The truffle appears in small, threatened and relict remnants of broadleaved deciduous habitats (ecosystems) with e.g. Corylus, Fagus, Carpinus and Quercus (probably with tree-continuity and living mycelia from ancient time). No recent disperal is known.
Elaphomyces virgatosporus is extremely rare and mainly confined to the temperate zone in Europe. It is reported (2020) from Germany (2 sites) Hungary (7 sites), NW Norway (3 sites), Spain (1 site) and SE Sweden (limestone island of Öland, Gotland and Kinnekulle 2019). There is one old record from Switzerland (1921). In Hungary, mainly restricted to the Carpathian Basin. There is also records from one site in USA checked by Jim Trappe (Mississippi. Hancock County Bay 1976 and additional records from the same locality 1980-1981. These records probably refer to another related taxon. The total number of known sites globally is less than 20.
It is endemic to Europe with less than 20 known localities in total.The total number of sites is estimated not to exceed 50 localities. Local populations typically consists of single small mycelia, probably of relict origin.
Habitat overstrained by game breeding (Siller et a. 2005). The fungus would appear to well established in at least one of the Norwegian localities - a ancient hazel dominated forest.
Population Trend: Uncertain
A hypogeous fungus forming ectomycorrhiza with deciduous trees; Corylus, Quercus, Carpinus and Fagus. The records from Sweden and Norway are all from Corylus stands on calcareous, almost black sandy soils with low proportion of clay. The habitat can often be characterized as ”nemoral, old wooded meadows, coppice and semi-natural broadleaved stands or old hazel groves”. In Hungary associated with Quercus-Carpinus stands but has also been recorded with Fagus. All sites have very old veteran deciduous and old Corylus. The site In Austuria Spain, was a mixed forest with Corylus, Castanea and Fagus. Typical it is recorded only from one place and less than 1 square meter per site.
Main threat is logging and local exploitation. Also the very small, isolated and fragmented populations.
Typically one mycelia/site sized 1 m2.
Known localities should be protected against change in management.
Further surveys should be carried out.
No commercial use or trade is known.
Domínguez, E.R. 2015. http://www.asturnatura.com/fotografia/setas-hongos/elaphomyces-virgatosporus-hollos-2/10789.html
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