Amanita caesarea is a common and widespread edible ectomycorrhizal species from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea basins. Although national trends are conflicting, the species has been declining for the last decades in most countries and threats have been identified. However, because it associates with various hosts and occurs in diverse habitat types it is of least concern (LC) at a global scale.
With a bright orange cap and its yellow stem, provided with a ring and a volva, this amanita is an unmistakable fungus. Amanita caesarea is a common and widespread edible ectomycorrhizal species from the Mediterranean and the Black Sea basins. Although national trends are conflicting, the species has been declining for the last decades in most countries and threats have been identified. However, because it associates with various hosts and occurs in diverse habitat types it is of least concern (LC) at a global scale.
The species has a typical distribution around the Mediterranean and the Black Sea basins. It is known from northern Africa (Algeria, Morroco, Tunisia), the southern part of Europe (absent from Poland, the UK, and from Scandinavia), the Caucasus region (Georgia, Turkey), Ukraine and Russian Caucasus, mostly Krasnodar Kray and Primorsky Kray (Svetasheva, personal communication).
Contrary to some reports, a comprehensive study by Sánchez-Ramírez et al. (2015) showed that the species does not occur in North or Central America nor in East Asia.
By 2015, the number of known sites was reported to be more than 500. Population trends are somewhat conflicting: a moderate to a strong decrease has been observed for the last decades in most countries, some countries (e.g. France, Greece), no trend was reported, and for a few, although the species remains rare, a slow increase has been reported (Bulgaria and Belgium) (Fraiture & Otto 2015).
Population Trend: Uncertain
Amanita caesarea mainly occurs in termophilous deciduous natural or semi-natural forests dominated by Quercus. It is ectomycorrhizal with trees in the Fagaceae, typically Quercus (Q. cerris, frainetto, gussonei, petraea, pubescens, robur, suber, ilex, rotundifolia), but also Carpinus, Fagus and Castanea. Outside Fagaceae, it is reported to associate with Corylus (Spain), Tilia (Serbia), Abies borisii-regis and A. cephalonica (Greece) and Pinus sylvestris (Germany).
In Europe, the species occurs in the following Natura 2000 habitats (codes): 4030, 6310, 9110, 9130, 9150, 9160, 9170, 91F0, 91G0, 91H0, 91I0, 91L0, 91M0, 91W0, 91AA, 9230, 9240, 9260, 9270, 9280, 9330, 9340.
Threats mostly relate to forestry management (e.g. increased fertilization), and airborne nitrogen deposition. Irresponsible picking has also been reported. It is red-listed in most countries of occurrence: Austria, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, France ( regional RedList), Germany, Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Russia (regional RedList), Serbia, Slovakia, Switzerland and Ukraine and protected by law in some (Croatia, Czech Republic, Germany, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Ukraine).
One of the most sought-after edible mushrooms in the Mediterranean. Commercially harvested.
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