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Hyphoderma etruriae Bernicchia

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Scientific name
Hyphoderma etruriae
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
IUCN Red List Criteria
C2a(i); D
Bernicchia, A., Karadelev, M. & Perini, C.
Ainsworth, A.M. & Mešić, A.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/147430392/148009897


Hyphoderma etruriae is a rare resupinate species restricted to south Europe forming thin cream coloured patches in small hollows of trunks and bigger branches of old living juniper shrubs. It grows in few localities in Italy and Macedonia on Juniper excelsa, J. macrocarpa, J. phoenicea, and J. turbinata from the sea level up to 200 m of altitude. The habitats, coastal dunes (Code 2250), arborescent matorral (code 5210) (Natura2000) and the Macedonian forests with Juniperus excelsa, are in danger of disappearing. Moreover old juniper shrubs or trees, the preferred substrate for the growth of the fungus, are threatened and declining. It has been suggested that such Mediterranean veteran juniper habitat represents a glacial refugium and this habitat supports an entire suite of fungi with highly restricted distributions (Bernicchia et al. 2011). The rare fungal species is known from less than 10 localities, with fragmented distribution and 2 of this are just disappeared. 

The potential distribution could be much wider considering the extent of the habitat where old junipers can be found and so also the estimated population of the fungal species. Considering the suitable habitat, the present threats and the relative limited area investigated, we can hypothesize at least 10 times more trees hosting the fruit bodies. The number of mature individuals is very small restricted to few fragmented subpopulations.

It is assessed as EN C2a(i), D

Geographic range

Hyphoderma etruriae is an endemic species to southern Europe, only recorded from 10 localities in 2 countries. In Italy it occurs from the central to southern part of the peninsula and the two larger islands (Sardinia and Sicily). In North Macedonia it is recorded in the southeastern part of the country. There is an unsubstantiated report of one locality in northwester Greece near the North Macedonian boarder.

Population and Trends

Hyphoderma etruriae grows only on Juniperus, selecting old shrubs or trees. It has been recorded only from 10 localities, usually single trees, and 2 are gone, leaving 8 extant known localities. Based on its currently known sites it is limited to Italy and North Macedonia, and therefore, has a fragmented distribution.

The potential distribution could be much wider considering the extent of maquis, thickets and low woods where of old Juniper shrubs can be found (Natura2000). Thus, the estimated number of localities of the species approaches 100. As known localities usually consist of single trees, we estimate the number of mature individuals at 200 (Dahlberg and Mueller 2011).

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Hyphoderma etruriae is a wood-inhabiting fungus requiring old shrubs of different Juniperus species, where it grows in hollows caused by old wounds, on trunks and big branches. The resupinate fruitbodies, forming thin cream coloured patches, are often covered by spider webs, not easy to be detected and classified. It has been studied by few specialists, and seems to be rare (Gorjon and Bernicchia 2013).

It has been recorded on J. phoenicea L., J. macrocarpa Sm., J. excelsa (M. Bieb.) Ant. and J. turbinata Guss from sea level up to 200 m of altitude. These old Juniper shrubs can be found in maquis, thickets and low woods distributed predominantly along  sandy coastal dunes, but are known also from inland areas.

The coastal dunes are described as rare with sparse prostrate or erected Juniperus and is a priority habitat. The arborescent mattoral develops on sandy soils. Juniper, with its well developed root system, prevents soil erosion; here old junipers are “living monuments” (Natura2000).

The species is more or less confined to the following Natura2000 habitats: coastal dunes (Code 2250) and arborescent matorral (code 5210).


Italian coastal dunes (Code 2250) and arborescent matorral (code 5210) with Juniperus phoenicea L. and J. macrocarpa Sm., are  in serious danger of disappearing and are listed as "unfavorable" (EU Habitat Directive). 

Maquis, thickets and low woods distributed predominantly along the sandy coastal dunes often have inappropriate management driven to maximise the profit of the tourism industry. Juniper shrubs are pruned in order to open trekking paths and sometimes do not survive or have an overproduction of sprouts changing the shape of the shrub making it less suitable for the fungus. In Tuscany, the species was observed for various years, but after the pruning activities the host shrub shape changed and the species was not detected again. Additionally, logging and the domestic use of juniper timber is a threat. One locality in Sardinia no longer exists. 

The Macedonian forests with Juniperus excelsa are threatened because of the invasion of broadleaved species following abandonment of traditional, low intensity forest and farming practices. 

In all areas fire could be another threat.

Conservation Actions

Protection of old host trees / shrubs is the key conservation action required to protect this species.

Further research is needed on its distribution and trends: currently the known distribution of the species is restricted to two countries, but its habitats are also present and threatened in other Mediterranean and submediterranean areas. Also, the Juniperus excelsa forests extend out of Macedonia. Efforts to better understand its ecology are also needed in order to cultivate and possibly conserve it ex-situ.

Source and Citation

Bernicchia, A., Karadelev, M. & Perini, C. 2019. Hyphoderma etruriae. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2019: e.T147430392A148009897. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2019-3.RLTS.T147430392A148009897.en .Accessed on 2 February 2024

Country occurrence