• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • 3Preliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Balsamia platyspora Berk.

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Scientific name
Balsamia platyspora
Common names
broad-spored balsamia
balsamovka širokovýtrusá
kleine balsemtrüffel
breitsporige Balsamtrüffel
platsporu balsāmija
truflówka szerokozarodnikowa
smradľavka krehká
IUCN Specialist Group
Cup-fungi, Truffles and Allies
Assessment status
Under Assessment
Proposed by
David Minter
David Minter
Vladimír Kunca
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg, Ivona Kautmanova, Inita Daniele

Assessment Notes

Taxonomic notes

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

This species is uncommon to rare throughout its range, being seen sporadically, and only in some years, and threatened in some areas by timber extraction. In various national red lists in Europe, it is listed as rare, threatened and, in one case as extinct.

Geographic range

EUROPE: Denmark, Estonia, France, Germany, Hungary, Norway, Poland, Russia (Moscow oblast), Romania, Sweden, UK. NORTH AMERICA: USA (Oregon). Records from Australia (Tasmania), under Abutilon in a garden (RODWAY, 1917) and from Bahrain in 1936, a dried culture specimen (IMI 371427) are not listed here as part of the known geographical distribution of this species.

Population and Trends

Because trained dogs can find hypogeous fungi more easily than humans, estimates of abundance of all hypogeous species in Europe tend to be higher in Mediterranean countries where there is a tradition of using such animals. Balsamia platyspora is the commonest member of the genus in Europe, but is rarely observed and occurs sporadically and only in some years (ŁAWRYNOWICZ, 2006). The species was described as certainly rare in Italy by VITTADINI (1831) and rather uncommon in Europe by MONTECCHI & SARASINI (2000). In the Columbia River Basin area of the USA, in 1995, CASTELLANO (internet source cited below) assessed the species as threatened by timber extraction. The species is in the Norwegian fungal red list as near threatened, in the Danish list as rare, and in the Polish red list as rare. It is listed as extinct in the Netherlands, and red-listed as threatened with extinction in Germany and Baden in particular. Using IUCN categories and criteria, Minter (2007) evaluated the status of this species as Near Threatened (Data Deficient).

Population Trend: Uncertain

Habitat and Ecology

Hypogeous fungi make an important contribution to the dynamics of woodland and forest soils, through their mutualism with mammals resulting in digging and aeration. Some, including the present species, are also mycorrhizal (BARROETAVEÑA, RAJCHENBERG & CÁZARES, 2005) thereby playing a rôle in forest health. The species has been observed in June, July, August, September, October, November and December. Soil where it occurs may contain many tunnels and underground ways of small rodents (ŁAWRYNOWICZ, 2006). Fruitbodies are typically found 3-6 cm under humus, on the surface of the soil itself or buried 3-6 cm in the soil. There are records from soils varying in pH from 6.6–7.8 and the soils have been described variously as crumbly or gravelly and with black humus; some records are from near paths, or in gardens. The following associated organisms and substrata have been observed for this species. Acer platanoides; Corylus avellana; Fagus sylvatica; Fagus sp.; Hedera helix; Ilex aquifolium; Larix sp.; Laurus sp.; Quercus robur; Pinus ponderosa; Pseudotsuga menziesii; Tilia sp.; Ulmus glabra. Other associated organisms: Hymenogaster tener, Tuber rufum. Other substrata: humus, soil (brown to black, crumbly clay, with a ca 50% covering in Estonian and other collections by Aegopodium podagraria; Geum rivale; Hedera helix; Lathyrus vernus; Muscopsida; Rubus saxatilis; Stellaria nemorum; Viola sp.).


Threatened by timber extraction in Oregon (Castellano, internet source cited below). This species has been exploited commercially at a low level in the past. Hypogeous fungi in general produce strong odours to attract their symbiont mammals, and in some cases, though not the present species, that aroma makes the fruitbodies of economic importance as prized culinary commodities. VITTADINI (1831) reported that this species, disguised to look like a species of Tuber, was sold under false pretences in Italian markets of the time during the months of February and March. There is no recent information of any commercial exploitation.

Conservation Actions

Research needed

Use and Trade


BARROETAVEÑA, C., RAJCHENBERG, M. & CÁZARES, E. Mycorrhizal fungi in Pinus ponderosa introduced in central Patagonia (Argentina). Nova Hedwigia 80: 453-464 (2005). BONTEA, V. Ciuperci Parazite şi Saprofite din România 2: 471 pp. (1986). CHMIEL, M.A. Checklist of Polish Larger Ascomycetes. Kraków, W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences: 152 pp. (2006). DONADINI, J.C. Les balsamiacées sont des Helvellacées: cytologie et scanning de Balsamia vulgaris Vitt. et de Balsamia platyspora Berk. et Br. Bulletin Trimestriel de la Société Mycologique de France 102 (4): 373-387 (1986). HAWKER, L.E. British hypogeous fungi. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B 237: 429-546, 29 figs (1954). HAWKER, L.E. Revised annotated list of British hypogeous fungi. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 63: 67-76 (1974). ŁAWRYNOWICZ, M. Chorology of the European hypogeous ascomycetes. II. Tuberales. Acta Mycologica Warszawa 26 (1): 7-75 (1990, publ. 1991). ŁAWRYNOWICZ, M. Hypogeous fungi collected in Estonia in 1989 and 1999. Folia Cryptogamica Estonica 43: 67-71 (2006) [available on-line at http://www.ut.ee/ial5/fce/FCE_eLibrary/FCEeBooks/FCE42eBook.pdf]. MINTER, D.W. Balsamia platyspora. IMI Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria No. 1711 (2007). MONTECCHI, A. & SARASINI, M. Funghi Ipogei d’Europa (Trento, Italy: Associazione Micologica Bresadola): [i-vi] 714 pp. (2000). PEGLER, D.N., SPOONER, B.M. & YOUNG, T.W.K. British Truffles a Revision of British Hypogeous Fungi (Kew, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens): [i-viii], 216 pp., 26 plates (1993). RODWAY, L. Botanical notes. Papers and Proceedings of the Royal Society of Tasmania 1917: 105-110 (1917, publ. 1918). VITTADINI, C. Monographia Tuberacearum (Milano, Italy: Rusconi): [i-viii] 88 pp., 5 plates (1831).

http://oregonstate.edu/ornhic/data/nonvasc.html  (occurrence in the USA, Oregon);
http://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/RoteListePflanzen.pdf (red listing for Germany);
http://www.danbif.dk/Documents/fungi1.pdf/download (occurrence in Denmark);
http://www.icbemp.gov/science/castella.pdf (threatened status in the USA, Columbia River Basin area);
http://www.grzyby.pl/czerwona-lista-skorowidz-lat.htm (red listing for Poland);
http://www.netbiologen.dk/rodliste/rodsvampe.htm (red listing for Denmark);
http://www.paddestoelenkartering.nl/downloads/RodeLijst.txt (listing as extinct in Netherlands);
http://www.xfaweb.baden-wuerttemberg.de/nafaweb/berichte/pasw_01/rote0008.html (red listing for Baden, Germany);
http://www.netbiologen.dk/rodliste/rodsvampe.htm (red listing for Denmark);
www2.artsdatabanken.no/rodlistesok/Artsinformasjon.aspx?ArtsId=24637 (red listing for Norway).

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted