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

Ganoderma sp. ”Awaroa” nom. prov.

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Scientific name
Ganoderma sp. ”Awaroa”
Author
nom. prov.
Common names
 
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Basidiomycota
Class
Agaricomycetes
Order
Polyporales
Family
Ganodermataceae
Assessment status
Under Assessment
Proposed by
Peter Buchanan
Assessors
Peter Buchanan
Editors
Tom May
Contributors
Peter Buchanan
Reviewers
Anders Dahlberg, Gregory Mueller

Assessment Notes

Taxonomic notes

This unnamed species of Ganoderma is considered to be endemic to New Zealand. Of New Zealand’s 3 species of Ganoderma, it is the only one with a shiny (laccate) upper surface, readily distinguishable from the 2 common species of Ganoderma that have a dull (non-laccate) upper surface. This rare species is known from only 3 fungarium specimens, one of which was earlier mistakenly identified by Steyaert (from Belgium) as G. tropicum.

Phylogenetic study is needed before describing this as a new species to confirm its novelty and closest relatives. Ganoderma is already a complex genus, plagued by multiple names for individual species. But phylogenetic study first requires fresh material as a source of DNA; attempts have been unsuccessful to extract DNA from the 3 aged (1969-1972) dried fungarium specimens.


Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

This large and as yet unnamed wood-decay bracket fungus is endemic to New Zealand, not seen since 1972, and feared to be extinct!  It is ranked in the highest threat category by New Zealand’s Department of Conservation, and known only from a geographically restricted forested area in the Waikato region bounded by farms.  The species is represented by only three dried specimens stored in Fungarium PDD, all collected on the same host tree species (Laurelia novae-zelandiae - pukatea) during the period 1969-1972. The largest specimen is 34 cm across. Further attempts to locate fresh material have been unsuccessful to date.


Geographic range

All 3 known specimens were reported from the Waikato region, on or to the south of Mt Pirongia - without a precise known location.  The late Reg Bell who collected all 3 specimens offered to show others their location, but no-one has been able to provide this information - as yet.  Guided public field trips to look for this fungus have to date been unsuccessful.  As a large organism (up to 34 cm across for the largest of 3 specimens), it should be reasonably conspicuous in its habitat.


Population and Trends

Within a relatively small area of western Waikato from where it was reported, the population appears to be very small (to absent?). However, from 1969-1972 at least 3 specimens could be collected. Specimens appear to vary from annual to lasting for maybe up to 3 years, on the basis of concentric growth rings and vertical strata of tubes. Public engagement and publicity to locate this species exceeds efforts for any other rare fungus in New Zealand, but without success to date.

Population Trend:


Habitat and Ecology

This is a wood decay fungus, forming large bracket-shaped fruitbodies (eg, up to 34 cm across).  All 3 known specimens were collected on Laurelia novae-zelandiae (pukatea; Order Laurales), a widespread endemic tree up to 35 m tall, trunk to 2m diam., and characterised by conspicuous plank-buttresses at the trunk base.  Host range may extend beyond pukatea?


Threats

Habitat destruction?  If the specific habitat pre-1973 was forest and very confined in area, it may have subsequently been destroyed and converted to pasture.  Yet, spores from large bracket fruitbodies could be expected(?) to disperse to surrounding forests where the host pukatea is present?


Conservation Actions

Recognised in New Zealand as “nationally critical” (Hitchmough 2002)

Public engagement and publicity to locate this species exceeds efforts for any other rare fungus in New Zealand, but without success to date.

Awaroa Scenic Reserve is within the general area where this species was recorded.  The reserve is managed by Department of Conservation & earlier by the Department of Lands & Survey; its guide for Protected Natural Areas mentions that this rare Ganoderma has been recorded from Awaroa or surrounding forests (Anon. 1984, p. 89).


Research needed

Continued collecting in this region, and continued publicity with environmental groups.

Phylogenetic study is needed before describing this as a new species to confirm its novelty and closest relatives. Ganoderma is already a complex genus, plagued by multiple names for individual species. But phylogenetic study first requires fresh material as a source of DNA; attempts have been unsuccessful to extract DNA from the 3 aged (1969-1972) dried fungarium specimens.


Use and Trade

None, as no material is available - but laccate (shiny-topped) Ganoderma species are the basis of a major industry in Asia where one or more species are marketed as lingzhi (China) or reishi (Japan).  The value of medicinal and nutraceutical products from Ganoderma is very large.  Re-discovery of this rare laccate Ganoderma could attract unwelcome interests for purely financial gain - in the name of health-giving properties similar to those attributed to lingzhi/reishi.


Bibliography

Hitchmough R. 2002. New Zealand Threat Classification System lists 2002. Threatened Species Occasional Publications 23. Wellington, Department of Conservation. 210 pp.

Anon. 1984. Register of Protected National Areas in New Zealand. Wellington, Department of Lands & Survey.

Buchanan PK, May TW 2003. Conservation of New Zealand and Australian fungi. New Zealand Journal of Botany 41: 407-421.


Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted