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Chroogomphus albipes (Zeller) Y.C. Li & Zhu L. Yang

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Scientific name
Chroogomphus albipes
(Zeller) Y.C. Li & Zhu L. Yang
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
Siegel, N.
Mueller, G.M.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/195924796/195926648


Chroogomphus albipes is widespread in western North America, mostly in montane pine forests. It is currently known from around 90 sites, and due to the cryptic growth (often hypogeous or under duff) is likely highly under-reported. Despite the scarcity of collections in the intervening period, it has been reported to be abundant in both 1979 and 2017, and the population may at be at least locally stable where suitable habitat remains, although a number of potentially serious threats to its host pines have been identified. Most reports come from the Rocky Mountains, but also the Cascade Range in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, the Sierra Nevada, and north coastal California. This species is assessed as Least Concern (LC).

Taxonomic notes

It was first described by Zeller (1948) from a collection made in Butte County, California, (near Merrimac) as Secotium albipes. Later it was transferred to the genus Brauniellula (Smith and Singer 1958), who also described Brauniellula nancyae. Miller (2003) synonymized B. nancyae with B. albipes, and stated it belonged in the genus Chroogomphus, but did not formally transfer it. Li et. al (2009) made the transfer to Chroogomphus, after the name Chroogomphus was conserved against Brauniellula (the older name).

Geographic range

This species is widespread in western North American, mostly in montane habitat with Pinus contorta, occasionally in coastal pine forest. It is uncommon from southern California into British Columbia, and locally common in the Rocky Mountains.

Population and Trends

Thiers (1979) said about Brauniellula nancyae (now a synonym of this species) “Abundant throughout the Sierra Nevada where it is commonly associated with lodgepole pines (Pinus contorta ssp. murrayana). Less common but widespread and associated with the same mycorrhizal host in other mountain ranges within the state”. Only three collections were made in a thirty years period (1986-2016), once in 1989, twice in 2011, and only three observations (1996, 2003, and 2005) are reported on Mushroom Observer. However, targeted surveys in 2017 attempting to find this species found it to be abundant in suitable habitat in California (N. Siegel, unpublished).

Population Trend: unknown

Habitat and Ecology

Its sporocarps are solitary, scattered, or in fused clusters, often hypogeous (buried in soil or duff). Chroogomphus in general are associated with ectomycorrhizal Suillus species, likely as myco-parasites of those taxa. Most collections come from higher elevation Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta murrayana) forests in California, possibly associated with three-needle pines as well. Fruiting occurs in summer and fall.


Lodgepole Pine dieback due to climate change and pine beetle outbreaks has devastated some western North American pine forests. Prolonged droughts and decades of fire suppression have drastically altered the high sierra forest, leading to thicker, denser, Abies-dominated forests. As a result hotter, stand-replacing fires (rather than patchwork and understory burns) are commonplace, altering appropriate habitat drastically, and likely making it ill-suited for this species.

Conservation Actions

No specific conservation actions have been identified with regards to this species at this time. Additional surveys in other parts of the range are needed, especially in Colorado where Mountain Pine Beetle infestations have devastated some local pine forests.

Use and Trade

No use/trade is known.

Source and Citation

Siegel, N. 2021. Chroogomphus albipes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T195924796A195926648. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-2.RLTS.T195924796A195926648.en .Accessed on 26 September 2023

Country occurrence