Heliogaster columellifer is a sequestrate fungi endemic to Japan, where it has a wide distribution. It has been found in association with various plant species and is expected to have a large area of suitable habitat. Its population size is estimated as more than 210000 mature individuals, and there is no evidence of population decline. Therefore, the species is assessed as Least Concern (LC).
Heliogaster columellifer was originally described as Octaviania columellifera but was later transferred to a new monotypic genus based on morphologic and phylogenetic evidence. Japanese Octaviania asterosperma is considered a misidentification of H. columellifer. (Orihara et al al., 2017) Orihara et al al. (2017) also consider Arcangeliella mitsueae to be a synonym of H. columellifer, but it is not included in Index Fungorum (2023).
Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?
Considered endemic to Japan (Orihara et al., 2017).
Population and Trends
H. columellifer has been documented in more than 44 sites across Japan (GBIF.org, 2023) and in association with varied tree species. Following the guidelines by Dahlberg and Mueller (2011), population size is projected to be above 210000 (42 sites x 10 mature individuals x 500 multiplier), taking into account its likely large area of suitable habitat and inconspicuousness of the fruiting bodies. There is no evidence of population decline.
Octaviania columellifera was listed in Japan’s National Red List (1997-2000) in Threatened Category I (CR+EN). However, Kanto was the only region listed in its distribution at the time, which may have triggered its threatened category, and the species has not been listed in subsequent Red Lists.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Habitat and Ecology
H. columellifer is an ectomycorrhizal, hypogeous to subepigeous sequestrate species. It is mainly found under Abies firma, but also under Cedrus deodara, Quercus serrata, Castanopsis sieboldii, Abies veitchii, Pinus densiflora and P. thunbergia. (Orihara et al al., 2017).
No major threats have been identified for this species. The plant species that H. columellifer grows in association with have also been assessed as Least Concern in the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, though a decline due to the reduction in forested areas near cities was reported for Abies firma (Katsuki et al., 2013)