• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • VUPreliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Stereopsis humphreyi (Burt) Redhead & D.A. Reid

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Scientific name
Stereopsis humphreyi
(Burt) Redhead & D.A. Reid
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Assessed
Preliminary Category
VU C2(1)i
Proposed by
Else Vellinga
Else Vellinga
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg, Noah Siegel

Assessment Notes

Considering the unrecorded localities…is less 10.000 mature individuals the best guess - or should it be 15 000 (then NT)?


Stereopsis humphreyi is a peculiar fungus that stands out among its gilled relatives in the Agaricales by having a smooth surface on which the spores are formed. It is a rare species, occurring in coastal conifer forests from Haida Gwaii in Canada southwards to central Oregon. It fruits in wet mucky places, near creeks and ponds. It stands out in the dark forest because of its white fruitbodies that resemble angel wings on a stem. Coastal old-growth forests are easy victims of clear cutting and forest management measures that threaten the forest structure. The known sites are scattered along the coast from central Oregon northwards to Haida Gwaii. The species is conspicuous, but has only been reported from 20 locations. The extent of occurrence is bigger that 20,000 sq km., even though the species is only known from a narrow strip bordering the ocean. It is assessed as Vulnerable OR THREATENED ? based on having a small, largely unrecorded population along the Oregon with on total fewer than 200 (300) locations in a habitat that is being logged.

Taxonomic notes

Stereopsis humphreyi is a member of the Agaricales, whereas the type species of the genus is unrelated, and placed (with other species in Stereopsis) in its own order, Stereopsidales (Sjøkvist et al. 2012; 2014), close to the Phallomycetidae. This implies that Stereopsis humphreyi has to be moved into its own genus.
Stereopsis humphreyi takes an isolated position within the Agaricales, and is surrounded by gilled mushrooms (Moncalvo et al. 2002). It does not have close relatives that share the simple, non-gilled hymenophore. The records of Stereopsis humphreyi from interior China are not considered to belong to the same species as the western American species.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Geographic range

Stereopsis humphreyi is distributed from central Oregon in the U.S.A. northwards to Haida Gwaii [formerly known as Queen Charlotte Islands] in Canada. Not known from southeast coastal Alaska. All locations are at sea level and coastal. Around 20 locations are known for this species.

Population and Trends

The species is known to occur or to have occurred in around 20 locations that occur scattered along the coast from central Oregon to Haida Gwaii. The species has repeatedly been found over the span of 70 years on some of these (e.g. at the type locality). In the southern part of its area, available habitat is spotty and does not form a continuous belt. Habitat on Haida Gwaii is available and forms a more continuous zone along the coast. Data on occurrence on the coast of mainland British Columbia are not available.

ANDERS TO ELSE: CHECK: The number of locations is assessed not to exceed 200 considering unrecorded locations along the coast, particularly in Canada. There are only a few fungal mycelia of S. humphreyi at each location, hence the estimated total number of mature individuals does not exceed 10 000 (OR 15 000 if Near Threatened, then 300 sites) (c.f. Dahlberg & Mueller, 2011).

Population Trend:

Habitat and Ecology

Its life-form is presumed to be saprotrophic. On needle debris in coastal lowland old-growth coniferous forests with Sitka spruce (Picea sitchensis), Western red cedar (Thuja plicata) and Western hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), in wet, muddy, mossy places (Redhead & Reid 1984; Kroeger et al. 2012; Siegel, pers. comm). Like other litter- and mycorrhizal fungi, individual mycelia is perennial and persist for many years.

Temperate Forest


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), and coastal forest in particular has been heavily logged. Lumber operations in British Columbia started in the 1850s, those in the USA in the late 1800s, but clear cutting started in earnest early in the 20th century, and has been ongoing since. The existing sites where this species occurs are scattered, some are in protected areas such as National Parks in the U.S.A. or National Park Reserve or Provincial parks in Canada.

Unintentional effects: large scale (species being assessed is not the target) [harvest]

Conservation Actions

Site/area protectionAwareness & communications

Research needed

The taxonomy of this species has to be settled, and the identity of the Chinese collections to be established. The nutritional mode is not known, but it is hypothesized, judging from the phylogenetic position, to be saprotrophic (see Moncalvo et al., 2002).

TaxonomyPopulation size, distribution & trendsLife history & ecology

Use and Trade


Burt, E.A. 1914. The Thelephoraceae of North America. II. Craterellus. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden. 1: 327-349.
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.
Kroeger, P., Kendrick, B., Ceska, O. & Roberts, C. 2012. Outer spores: Mushrooms of Haida Gwaii.
Moncalvo, J.M. et 13 al., 2002. One hundred and seventeen clades of euagarics. Molecular phylogenetics and evolution 23: 357–400.
Sjøkvist, E., Larsson, E., Eberhardt, U., Ryvarden, L. & Larsson, K.H. 2012. Stipitate stereoid basidiocarps have evolved multiple times. Mycologia 104: 1046–1055.
Sjøkvist, E., Pfeil, B.E., Larsson, E. & Larsson K.H. 2014. Stereopsidales - A new order of mushroom-forming fungi. PLOSone 9: 9e95527.
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.
Redhead, S.A. & Reid, D.A. 1983. Craterellus humphreyi, an unusual Stereopsis from western North America. Canadian Journal of Botany 61:3088–3090.

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted