• Proposed
  • 2Under Assessment
  • 3Preliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Rhizopogon ellipsosporus Trappe, Castellano & Amar.

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Scientific name
Rhizopogon ellipsosporus
Trappe, Castellano & Amar.
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Proposed by
Noah Siegel
Comments etc.
Noah Siegel

Assessment Notes

Taxonomic notes

Described from a collection made ~15 miles west of Grants Pass, Oregon, USA (Trappe & Castellano 2000).

Many Rhizopogon lack distinctive morphological characters, and can only be reliably identified with genetic sequences.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Rhizopogon ellipsosporus is a rare hypogeous fungus with a reddish brown to brown peridium with scattered appressed rhizomorphs, a pale yellow-brown gleba, and rather short and wide spores (for a Rhizopogon).

Known from a single site in the California Coast Range, and seven locations in Oregon; most of which come from old growth forests.

Geographic range

Known from a single site in the Coast Range of California, and scattered sites in the SIskiyou Mountains and Cascade Range in Oregon, USA.

Population and Trends

Currently known from eight locations in northern California and Oregon. Based on the few collections made, it appears to be restricted to mature and old growth forests, which are under threat from fires, logging and climate change.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Hypogeous, solitary or scattered in duff or soil in old growth forests, Ectomycorrhizal, likely associated with Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Fruiting in fall, more rarely in spring. This species is dependent on mycophagy (primarily eaten by small mammals) for spore dispersal, and is likely restricted to old growth forests.

Temperate Forest


This is a ectomycorrhizal fungus species dependent on living host trees for viability. The major threat to this species and its co-occurring co-generic brethren is habitat destruction, via the logging of old-growth forests to which it appears confined too. The extent of old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest of North America has declined 90% in the last century (Society of American Foresters 1984, Haynes 1986).

Fire is big threat to this species’ populations. A stand replacing fire could severely degrade and/or diminish its current range. Logging and machine clearing of understory vegetation should be limited in mature and old growth forest in areas where this species might occur.

Unintentional effects: subsistence/small scale (species being assessed is not the target) [harvest]Unintentional effects: large scale (species being assessed is not the target) [harvest]Increase in fire frequency/intensity

Conservation Actions

Protection of mature and old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.

Site/area protection

Research needed

More data on populations and trends. Details on habitat requirements and restraints.

Population size, distribution & trendsLife history & ecology

Use and Trade

None known.


Castellano, M., Smith, J.E., O’Dell, T., Cázares, E. and Nugent, S. 1999. Handbook to Strategy 1 Fungal Species in the Northwest Forest Plan. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-476. United States Department of Agriculture.

Haynes, T.W. 1986. Inventory and value of old-growth in the Douglas-fir region. PNW-RN 437. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR.

MyCoPortal. Mycology Collections Portal. Available at: http://mycoportal.org

Trappe, J.M. and Castellano, M.A. 2000. New sequestrate Ascomycota and Basidiomycota covered by the Northwest Forest Plan. Mycotaxon. 75: 153–179

Society of American Foresters. 1984. Scheduling the harvest of old growth : Old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest : a position of the Society of American Foresters and Report of the SAF Task Force on Scheduling the Harvest of Old-Growth Timber. Bethesda, MD.

Siegel, N., Vellinga, E.C., Schwarz, C., Castellano, M.A. and Ikeda, D. 2019. A Field Guide to the Rare Fungi of California’s National Forests. Bookmobile: Minneapolis, MN. 313 p.

Smith, A.H. and Zeller, S.M. 1966. A preliminary account of the North American species of Rhizopogon. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden. 14: 1–178

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted