• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • VUAssessed
  • Published

Trichoglossum walteri (Berk.) E.J. Durand

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Scientific name
Trichoglossum walteri
(Berk.) E.J. Durand
Common names
Walters Haarzunge
Middelsporige ruige aardtong
Knubbig hårjordtunga
short-spored earthtongue
IUCN Specialist Group
Cup-fungi, Truffles and Allies
Assessment status
Proposed by
John Bjarne Jordal
John Bjarne Jordal
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg, Viktor Kučera

Assessment Notes

R-L categories correct, but text here does not match final assessment. Updated version will be published in IUCN´s Red List June or Nov 2019.


In Europe Trichoglossum walteri is rare and strongly confined to semi-natural grasslands in the lowlands of northern Europe. Griffith et al. (2013) estimated a habitat loss of 90% over the last 75 years for the CHEG-fungi (grassland fungi of the groups Clavariaceae, Hygrocybe s.l., Entoloma and Geoglossaceae) as a whole in Western Europe (i.e. loss in seminatural grasslands, based on available information). These habitats are declining and getting bad quality due to changing agricultural practices, development projects and pollution (nitrogen deposition). In N America the species mainly grows in forests. GBIF lists about 600 occurrences in areas where the species is assumed to occur, and about 100 of these in N America. The species is assumed to have a population of more than 20000 mature individuals. In Europe, the habitat loss and population decline is assumed to be 30-50% in 50 years (past, present and future) (approximately three generations: one generation is assumed to be about 17 years). Habitat quality has also become impaired and the decline in population size over this time could be even higher. This decline in habitat is ongoing and expected to continue over the next 50 years. At a global scale (i.e. Europe + N America) the decline is also assumed to be >30% taken into account the population reported i N America (GBIF 2019). The species meets the threshold for VU (A2c+3c+4c) in Europe (probably near EN), and at a global scale VU (A2c+3c+4c).

Taxonomic notes

The status of GBIF occurences in N America compared to Europe is uncertain but we here for the time being assume that they are conspecific. Provisionally, occurrences in Australasia and S America are regarded as probably related species.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

This is in Europe mainly a species of nutrient poor (often heathlike) semi-natural grasslands in lowland areas, habitats which are strongly declining due to changing agricultural practices, development projects, and airial nitrogen deposition. In N America the species also occurs in forests. It is redlisted in many countries.

Geographic range

The species is known from Europe and N America. Occurrences outside this are assumed to belong to other species. In Europe it occurs in many countries in the lowland, coastal areas. In Scandinavia the species is found most often in the southern, coastal parts of Norway, Sweden and Denmark, in the boreonemoral and southern boreal vegetation zone, occasionally in middle boreal zone. The species is occurring in N America (e.g. Grund & Harrison 1967, GBIF 2019). There is need of molecular methods to confirm distribution data. Meanwhile we accept the occurrence in N America, but regard the other occurrences as probably related species, like the situation in some other earth tongues (see e.g. Hustad et al. 2013).

Population and Trends

According to GBIF (2019) there are totally about 600 occurrences, with about 100 in N America. Based on available information on trends in seminatural grasslands, Griffith et al. (2013) estimated a habitat loss of 90% over the last 75 years for the CHEG-fungi (grassland fungi of Clavariaceae, Hygrocybe s.l., Entoloma and Geoglossaceae) as a whole in Western Europe. According to the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO), the area of grasslands in the EU declined by 12.8% over 13 years (1990-2003). Also other sources point to a habitat loss in seminatural grasslands of roughly 1% per year in Europe over a longer time, although the data quality is not always very good. In N America the species occurs in forests and the population trend is here poorly known, but forest habitat decline over 50 years could be in the interval 10-20%. In the seminatural grasslands of north European coastal lowland we assume a total habitat loss and population decline of nearly 50% over 50 years. Over the whole distribution range we assume a total habitat loss and population decline of 30%-50% over the last 50 years. As the habitat quality is also declining (especially in the main habitat – seminatural grasslands), population decline could be higher. eminatural grasslands are strongly declining.
The habitat quality of seminatural grasslands is also declining, strengthening the population decline. More than 75% of the grasslands habitats are in an unfavourable conservation status (http://ec.europa. eu/environment/nature/knowledge/ rep_habitats/index_en.htm#csa). This trend is ongoing and expected to continue in the future.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

The European population of Trichoglossum walteri grows in mycologically rich but nutrient-poor semi-natural grasslands, often on acid soil in grasslands surrounded by heath. Semi-natural grasslands are rapidly disappearing due to changes in land use (see Threats and Polulation and trends). In Norway, almost all localities of the species are in semi-natural grasslands and some few times in broadleaved forests (Jordal et al. 2016), and similar patterns are found in other European countries. In N America, habitat information is sparse; in wooded ravine in Nova Scotia (Grund & Harrison 1966). The nutrient strategy is unknown but it could have some kind of biotrophy or mycorrhiza, like waxcaps (Nitare 1988).

Temperate ForestTemperate Grassland


Habitat destruction and abandoning are the main threats to seminatural grasslands including the calcareous ones. The most important process is probably withgrowing due to ceased grazing/mowing of old seminatural grasslands as part of intensification of agriculture. Further modern cultivation methods like use of fertilizers, pesticides and plowing. Also some places changed land use with the construction of roads, industrial areas, settlements etc. Decline is expected to continue, as at least the areas of seminatural grasslands are of little economic importance in modern agriculture. Most CHEG grasslands (see Population and trends) are among types redlisted as VU, EN or CR in the EU red list of habitats (Jansen et al. 2016).

Housing & urban areasCommercial & industrial areasShifting agricultureRoads & railroadsAcid rain

Conservation Actions

The habitats should be protected against destruction due to intensification of agriculture or development plans. The maintaining of seminatural grasslands demands yearly grazing or mowing. If grazing by heavy animals destroys part of the soil, light animals like sheep should be recommended. Habitat conservation by governmental support to traditional agricultural practices is most important, this exists in many countries to maintain extensive areas of agricultural areas, and should be extended to larger areas than today. The species is suggested as a priority species in Norway (Jordal 2013).

Site/area protectionResource & habitat protectionSite/area managementHabitat & natural process restorationAwareness & communicationsConservation payments

Research needed

Further ecological research is needed to clarify the nutrient strategy of grassland fungi. Management plans are needed. Habitat trends should be monitored.

TaxonomyPopulation size, distribution & trendsLife history & ecologyArea-based Management PlanHabitat trends

Use and Trade

The species is not known to be used.


Artdatabanken Sweden 2019. Artfakta Trichoglossum walteri. http://artfakta.artdatabanken.se/taxon/1591
Artsdatabanken Norway 2019. https://www.artsdatabanken.no/Rodliste
Finnish Biodiversity Information Facility 2019. Suomen lajitietokeskus. https://laji.fi/en
Food and Agricultural Organisation of the United Nations 2006. FAO Statistical Yearbook. – FAOSTAT.
Foreningen til svampekundskabens fremme 2019. Danmarks svampeatlas. https://svampe.databasen.org/
GBIF 2019. Trichoglossum walteri. https://www.gbif.org/species/2586920
German Mycological Society 2019. Pilzen Deutschlands: Trichoglossum walteri. http://www.pilze-deutschland.de/organismen/trichoglossum-walteri-berk-ej-durand-1908-1
Griffith, G. W., Gamarra, J. P., Holden, E. M., Mitchel, D., Graham, A., Evans, D. A., et al. (2013) The international conservation importance of welsh ’waxcap’ grasslands. Mycosphere 4: 969–984. http://mycosphere.org/pdf/MC4_5_No10.pdf
Grund, D. W. & Harrison, K. A. 1967. Nova Scotian fungi, Geoglossaceae. Can. J. Bot. 45:1625-1641.
Hustad V.P., Miller A.N., Dentinger B.T.M., Cannon P.F. 2013. Generic circumscriptions in Geoglossomycetes. Persoonia 31: 101–111. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3904045/pdf/per-31-101.pdf
Janssen, JAM, J.S. Rodwell, M. García Criado, S. Gubbay, T. Haynes, A. Nieto, N. Sanders, F. Lan-ducci, J. Loidi, A. Ssymank, T. Tahvanainen, M. Valderrabano, A. Acosta, M. Aronsson, G. Arts, F. Attorre, E. Bergmeier, R.-J. Bijlsma, F. Bioret, C. Biţă-Nicolae, I. Biurrun, M. Calix, J. Capelo, A. Čar-ni, M. Chytrý, J. Dengler, P. Dimopoulos, F. Essl, H. Gardfjell, D. Gigante, G. Giusso del Galdo, M. Hájek, F. Jansen, J. Jansen, J. Kapfer, A. Mickolajczak, J.A. Molina, Z. Molnár, D. Paternoster, A. Piernik, B. Poulin, B. Renaux, J.H.J. Schaminée, K. Šumberová, H. Toivonen, T. Tonteri, I. Tsiripidis, R. Tzonev and M. Valachovič, (2016). European Red List of habitats. Part 2, terrestrial and freshwater habitats. European Union, Luxembourg. http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/knowledge/pdf/terrestrial_EU_red_list_report.pdf
Jordal JB, 2013. Naturfagleg utgreiing om truga beitemarkssoppar, med forslag til utval av prioriterte artar. Rapport J.B. Jordal nr. 2-2013. 47 pp. [On threatened grassland fungi, with proposal for the selection of priority species]
Jordal, J.B., Evju, M., Gaarder, G., 2016. Habitat specificity of selected grassland fungi in Norway. Agarica 37: 5-32. http://www.jbjordal.no/publikasjoner/Habitat_specificity_Jordal_et_al2016.pdf
NBN Atlas 2019. Trichoglossum walteri. https://species.nbnatlas.org/species/NHMSYS0001500202
Nederlandse Mykologische Vereniging 2019. Verspreidingsatlas Paddenstoelen: Trichoglossum walteri. https://www.verspreidingsatlas.nl/0606060
Nitare J, 1988. Jordtungor, en svampgrupp på tillbakagång i naturliga fodermarker. Svensk Bot. Tidskr. 82: 341-368. [Earth tongues, a declining group of fungi in seminatural grasslands]
Swiss Federal Institute for Forest, Snow and Landscape Research 2019. Swiss fungi. Distribution atlas. https://swissfungi.wsl.ch/en/distribution-data/distribution-atlas.html

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted