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Cortinarius splendificus Chevassut & Rob. Henry

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Scientific name
Cortinarius splendificus
Chevassut & Rob. Henry
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
IUCN Red List Criteria
Brandrud, T.-E.
Kałucka, I.L. & Iršėnaitė, R.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/147854054/147854130


Cortinarius splendificus is a mainly Mediterranean species, associated with calcareous Quercus ilex forests (a few northern outposts in calcareous Carpinus-Quercus forests) (Schmidt-Stohn et al. 2016), a forest type with many habitat-specific taxa of Cortinarius, subgenus Phlegmacium.  

The Quercus ilex forests and woodlands have been declining e.g. due to transformation into secondary macchia due to land-use, severe forest fires, and die-back of oak due to Phytophtora and other pathogens. 

The species is estimated to have a total population of 8,000 mature individuals. According to the C criterion (C2 a(i)), the species then assessed as Vulnerable, based on a continuous decline, population size <10,000 individuals and very small/isolated subpopulations.

Geographic range

Cortinarius splendificus is a striking, rare species, which has its major distribution in the Mediterranean region from Spain to Italy (Schmidt-Stohn et al. 2016). The species are recorded from more districts in Spain, from Languedoc in S France and from both the eastern and western side of the Apennines in C Italy. Probably the species occurs also further eastward in the Mediterranean region (these areas are little investigated mycologically). Outside the Mediterranean climate zone(s), the species are recorded a couple of times in southern temperate sites in France and in Germany.

Population and Trends

The population is divided into several subpopulations far from each other, the subpupopulations of this species are usually of less than 50 individuals.

The species is known from approx. 10 sites/localities in Spain, approx. 5 sites/localitites in Languedoc in SW France, two sites/localities in the Apennines, C Italy, as well as three localities outside the Mediterranean region (France, Germany). Altogether approx 20 sites/localities are verified/published (see Schmidt-Stohn et al. 2016). The real, total number of sites/localities of C. splendificus are here estimated to 400. This is equivalent to 8,000 individuals according to IUCN standards (Dahlberg and Mueller 2011). 

The decline of the calcareous Quercus ilex forests in the evaluation period (last 50 years or three generations) is estimated to be in the magnitude of 15-20%.

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Cortinarius splendificus is associated mainly with Mediterranean sclerophyllous Quercus forests, chiefly calcareous Q. ilex forests. Some southern temperate outposts are found in xerothermous Quercus pubescens woodland, as well as in Carpinus-Quercus stands (Schmidt-Stohn et al. 2016).


Cortinarius splendificus and its habitats (calcareous Quercus ilex forests) have been declining e.g. due to transformation into secondary macchia due to land-use, severe forest fires, and die-back of oak due to Phytophtora and other pathogens (Hansen and Delatour 1999, Denman et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions

To prevent decline and further fragmentation of calcareous Quercus ilex forests with good habitat quality, it is important to set aside reserves on calcareous hotspots, housing many rare/threatened, habitat-specific species such as C. aurilicis, C. quercilicis, C. humolens. It is furthermore important to establish also sites with a less strict conservation regime, such as woodland key biotopes, where some non-destructive human activities are accepted (such as non-intensive, closed cutting).

More mapping/surveying and monitoring of C. splendificus are needed. More data on occurrences in calcareous Quercus ilex forests of the W Mediterranean region (core region) are needed, but also data from the almost un-explored eastern Mediterranean regions. Finally, more documentation on the degree of decline of the habit itself is needed.

Use and Trade

The species is not used.

Source and Citation

Brandrud, T.-E. 2019. Cortinarius splendificus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T147854054A147854130. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-2.RLTS.T147854054A147854130.en .Accessed on 1 February 2023

Country occurrence