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Cuphophyllus colemannianus (A. Bloxam) Bon

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Scientific name
Cuphophyllus colemannianus
(A. Bloxam) Bon
Common names
Toasted Waxcap
Smeđa vlažnica
Bruine wasplaat
voskovka Colemannova
brun engvokssopp
Dattelbrauner Ellerling
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
IUCN Red List Criteria
Mešić, A.
Ainsworth, A.M. & Jordal, J.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/147321083/147967039


Cuphophyllus colemannianus is a characteristic species of seminatural grasslands that are traditionally managed by grazing or mowing for a long period of time. These grasslands are characterized by rich and diverse mycobiota including many rare and endangered fungal species, mostly belonging to Clavariaceae, Hygrocybe s. l., Entoloma, Geoglossaceae, and Dermoloma. According to present knowledge the species is distributed throughout most of Europe. Its suitable habitats in Europe are increasingly threatened by the abandonment of traditional land use, intensification of farming practices, eutrophication (airborne nitrogen deposition) and use of fertilizers and/or pesticides. The population size of this species probably exceeds 20,000 mature individuals, therefore only criterion A is applicable. The species is assessed as Vulnerable based on a suspected reduction in its population size of at least 30% over 50 years (past, ongoing and future). In the near future, habitat degradation and loss could increase and lead to a reduction of its population up to 50% over three generations (50 years). This meets the threshold for VU A2c+3c+4c.

Geographic range

This is a widespread species in Europe, present in most countries. According to Kovalenko (1989) it is also distributed in the Asian part of Russia (Primorsky Krai, Far East region). This Asian collection should be checked by molecular and morphological methods to find out whether it belongs to the same biological species as in Europe. For now it is excluded from this assessment. Genetic analysis of material from a Canadian collection indicates this represents another taxon, therefore this is also excluded here.

Population and Trends

Areas with extensively managed grassland habitats have been decreasing during recent decades throughout Europe. Agricultural intensification, grassland conversion, and land abandonment are leading to habitat loss and causing a decline of grassland biodiversity. Almost half (49%) of the grassland habitats assessed under the EU Habitats Directive are in “unfavourable-bad” condition (EEA 2016). The European Red List of Habitats (Janssen et al. 2016) listed 26 grassland habitat types as threatened (categories VU, EN, CR) in EU28+ countries, including all those which are semi-natural grasslands. The population size of Cuphophyllus colemannianus probably exceeds 20,000 mature individuals. The population is decreasing due to the abandonment of traditional small scale farming and extensive grassland management (including grazing and/or regular mowing). The projected decrease is at least 30% over 30 years (past, ongoing and future) but may actually be even higher, up to 50% over three generations (50 years; e.g. 1980-2030). The species is included in most national fungal Red Lists in Europe (e.g. Austria, Croatia, Czechia, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, The Netherlands) where assessments have been made.

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Cuphophyllus colemannianus mostly occurs in seminatural, nutrient poor, extensively managed grasslands, often collectively called waxcap or CHEGD grasslands. It is only rarely found in fixed dunes or forests (e.g. 5% of records in Norway, Jordal et al. 2016). Almost all of its habitats are characterized by calcareous or basic soil. Suitable grasslands are those extensively grazed (by cattle, horses, sheep, deer) or regularly mowed, without recent fertilizer and pesticide application. It occurs in grasslands characterized by rich and diverse mycobiota together with many rare and endangered fungal species. 

For a long time members of the genus Hygrocybe s. l. were considered to be saprotrophs. However, Halbwachs et al. (2018) analysed stable isotopes in fruitbodies of different Hygrocybe species and suggested that these fungi are biotrophic endophytes or possibly mycorrhizal.


The area under the seminatural grasslands is continuously declining throughout most of Europe. Suitable habitats for C. colemannianus depend on small scale, low intensity farming which has become increasingly rare in the last few decades. The main threats are abandonment of traditional land use, intensification of farming practices, eutrophication (airborne nitrogen deposition) and increased use of fertilizers and/or pesticides. Over the last century, more than 90% of semi-natural grasslands have been lost due to management intensification or abandonment in most European countries (EEA Report 3/2016). Just about half of grassland habitats in Europe are threatened to some degree including three Critically Endangered and nine Endangered grassland types (Janssen et al. 2016), including all of those which are semi-natural grasslands. However, there are certain regional differences. Between 2007 and 2010, a massive decrease of permanent grassland area has been reported (EC 2012) in Austria (-291,000 ha), Spain (-272,000 ha), Lithuania (-213,000 ha) and Germany (-184,000 ha).

Conservation Actions

Site protection and active management of habitats are needed for conservation of C. colemannianus. Grassland sites hosting high diversity of CHEGD fungal species (Clavariaceae, Hygrocybe, Entoloma, Geoglossaceae, and Dermoloma) should be chosen for protection. Some extensively managed grasslands are situated within national parks, nature reserves or other protected areas. Additionally, in these areas the grassland management is not always adequate for the protection of valuable grassland mycobiota. Appropriate management of habitats should be based on traditional methods including extensive grazing (by cattle, horses, sheep, etc.) or regular mowing (before the fruiting season) followed by "arisings" removal.

Research is also needed regarding the species' distribution. The Russian material should be checked by molecular and morphological methods if possible. For now, the species is treated as distributed only in Eurasia.

Use and Trade

This is an edible species, but of no major importance for this.

Source and Citation

Mešić, A. 2019. Cuphophyllus colemannianus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T147321083A147967039. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T147321083A147967039.en .Accessed on 2 February 2024

Country occurrence