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

Cantharellus elsae (G. Stev.) E. Horak

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Scientific name
Cantharellus elsae
(G. Stev.) E. Horak
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Assessed
Preliminary Category
Proposed by
Adam Liddle
James Westrip, Adam Liddle
Ibai Olariaga Ibarguren

Assessment Notes


Cantharellus elsae is a rarely reported chanterelle of South Island, New Zealand. It was listed as Nationally Critical within New Zealand, due to only being known from one site at the time of listing, but there do appear to be records at additional localities. However, there are still very few records, all from protected or isolated areas. Therefore, the population size is estimated to be very small (c. 400-500 mature individuals), based on current information. If it is shown to be more widespread this could mean that this figure is a large underestimate. Further research is also required to get a clearer indication of what threats it may be facing.

Even though there are limited data available for this species, it does appear that the species would not warrant listing under any category from Least Concern to Critically Endangered, and so a listing as Data Deficient is not appropriate. At this time, a precautionary approach is taken and the tentative population size estimate above is used and C. elsae is assessed as Vulnerable under criterion D1.

Taxonomic notes

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Chanterelle species

Geographic range

The type specimen of this species was collected from Lake Rotoiti, Nelson, New Zealand, within the borders of the Nelson Lakes National Park (McNabb 1971). Specimen records held on GBIF (2024) also note the species as having been found in Victoria Forest Park (Australia’s Virtual Herbarium 2023) and ‘Cascade Road’ in the south of Westland District (Wilton (2024).

Population and Trends

Presently, this species is thought to occur within pristine habitat or under preservation in protected areas. It is reasonable to assume that this species’ population is stable at such sites. However, further research should be carried out to confirm this and to identify the full extent of its range and to what degree it may have been impacted by any threats elsewhere.

The species is only known from a very small number of records, and so despite the paucity of data it is likely that this species is rare. If it is truly restricted to such pristine, protected sites then the population may be restricted to only a small number of areas (c. eight to ten). With its low reporting frequency the number of functional individuals per site is likely to be small (c. five). Using the scaling factor of Dahlberg and Mueller (2011) of 10 mature individuals per functional individual this would give a total population size of 400-500 mature individuals. This value could, however, be a very large underestimate if evidence is found in the future that this species is occurring throughout South Island.

Population Trend: Uncertain

Habitat and Ecology

This species has been observed growing gregariously, within dense caespitose clusters, under Nothofagus species (with which it is assumed to form ectomycorrhizae; I. Olariaga Ibarguren in litt. 2022) and Kunzea ericoides (McNabb 1971, McKenzie et al. 2006, Australia’s Virtual Herbarium 2023). Overall, it is considered a ‘host generalist’ (Buyck et al. 2014).

Temperate Forest


This species has been collected from protected/isolated areas in South Island, New Zealand. Therefore, known collection sites are thought to not face any significant threats. Its reported presence only at such sites, does raise the possibility that the species is impacted by anthropogenic disturbance or land use changes but further research is required in order to get a clearer indication of if this is the case, and if so, what key the key threats could be.

Conservation Actions

This species does occur within protected areas (McNabb 1971, Australia’s Virtual Herbarium 2023). It is listed as Nationally Critical in New Zealand (Hitchmough et al. 2005), although this is based on its occurrence at a single locality, and does not include additional sites for the species as per noted in GBFI (2024).

Research needed

Further research should be carried out in order to assess the current status of this species’ population and any threats which may be affecting it, to better understand the current status of this uncommon species.

Population size, distribution & trendsThreats

Use and Trade

No use/trade information has been noted.


Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted