There is a degree of taxonomic confusion with regards to the use of this binomial, with scattered reports from three different continents. Getting clear identifications of specimens, and getting a conclusive decision on the taxonomic position of Cantharellus rhodophyllus and C. subincarnatus will be useful. In this assessment, though, they are considered as synonymous. Based on the known records and the species’ potential ecological requirements, it is likely to be widespread through Central Africa. Therefore, even with the current taxonomic confusion, this species is not thought to approach the thresholds for listing as threatened under any criterion and is assessed as Least Concern.
There is taxonomic uncertainty regarding this binomial, in particular its affiliation with Cantharellus subincarnatus. Index Fungorum treats both as accepted species, whereas a recent taxonomic study (Buyck and Hofstetter 2018) has suggested that subspecies C. s. subsp. rubrosalmoneus should be split as a separate species, while the nominate subspecies C. s. subsp. subincarnatus actually is a synonym of Cantharellus rhodophyllus.
The type specimen of this species was collected at Binga, northern Democratic Republic of Congo (Heinemann 1958). The epitype for the species was collected in Dzanga-Sangha Forest Reserve, southern Central African Republic, under Gilbertiodendron dewevrei (Buyck and Hofstetter 2018). As such it could have a wide distribution across equatorial forest in Central Africa. There is some taxonomic uncertainty around this concept though, depending on whether Cantharellus subincarnatus is treated as a synonym or not of C. rhodophyllus (Buyck and Hofstetter 2018 place it as a synonym, but Index Fungorum does not). Irrespective of this, though, given the known records of this species within Africa, it is possible to suspect a wide range, and there are non-georeferenced records from Gabon and Cameroon (GBIF.org).
Records described as C. subincarnatus come from Democratic Republic of Congo and Gabon (e.g. Ndong et al. 2011), with records for the synonym, Cantharellus incarnatus, from Cameroon and Zambia (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 2021a,b), although the Cameroon localities descriptions refer to Zambian place names, so it is assumed that these are labelled in error.
The species has also been included in a list of Colombian macrofungi (Vasco-Palacios and Franco-Molano (2013), and the Himalayas (Kumari et al. 2011); although these records would represent significant extensions to the range, and probably require further research to verify them. GBIF records from Madagascar potentially do not represent this species, especially given the taxonomic uncertainty between this species and C. subincarnatus, with C. subincarnatus subsp. rubrosalmoneus (only known from Madagascar) being treated here as a separate species (Buyck and Hofstetter 2018).
Population size and trend are essentially unknown.
Population Trend: Uncertain
This species has been collected in dense Gilbertiodendron dewevrei forest, and Macrolobium forest (Heinemann 1958, Ndong et al. 2011, Buyck et al. 2018), although one herbarium record (Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh 2021a) appears to have been collected from miombo woodland too.
In some areas this species will be being impacted by anthropogenic activities such as logging and land conversion for agriculture, although these are unlikely to be impacting the overall conservation status of the species.
Despite the recent work by Buyck and Hofstetter (2018), there does appear to be taxonomic confusion with regards to this species. A further synthesis to confirm the taxonomic position of this species, and all specimens currently ascribed to it and Cantharellus subincarnatus should be re-evaluated to confirm the overall position. This could also lead to identification of further species in Colombia and the Himalayas.
Ndong et al. (2011) include it in their report on edible species.