Originally described from Yosemite National Park in California, USA as Schenella simplex in 1902 (the type specimen was missing the peridium; likely eaten by a rodent, and was classified as a slime mold). Zeller (1944) described Radiigera atrogleba from Idaho, which was later placed into the genus Pyrenogaster (Domínguez de Toledo & Castellano 1996).
Genetic and morphological studies (Estrada-Torres et al. 2005), showed that Pyrenogaster/Radiigera atrogleba was conspecific with Schenella simplex.
Schenella simplex is a hypogeous fungus with a firm, rounded fruitbody with a felty exterior, a thick, tough inner wall and a gleba composed of very narrow, elongate peridioles radiating (like accordion folds) from a central rounded columella.
Population is widespread in western North America, with no recorded decline. I recommend this species be listed as Least Concern (LC).
Widespread in western North America, from the California, USA mountains into British Columbia, and in the northern Rocky Mountains, with scattered reports south into New Mexico.
Currently known from over 100 collections, from a widespread distribution in western North America, with no evidence of decline.
Population Trend: Stable
Hypogeous, solitary, scattered, or in ‘nests’ of multiple fruitbodies. Typically buried in duff and soil, occasionally erumpent, sometimes on wood. Surrounding duff often with binding mycelium. Saprotrophic, growing under Pinaceae, especially Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa), true fire (Abies spp.), and occasionally oaks (Quercus spp.). Fruiting in late winter and spring, occasionally fall.
No specific threats have been identified with regards to this species.
No specific conservation actions is needed with regards to this species.
Research on population trends.
Domínguez de Toledo, L.S. and Castellano, M.A. 1996. A revision of the genera Radiigera and Pyrenogaster. Mycologia 88(5): 863–884.
Estrada-Torres, A., Gaither, T.W., Miller, D. L., Lado, C. and Keller, H.W. 2005. The myxomycete genus Schenella: morphological and DNA sequence evidence for synonymy with the gasteromycete genus Pyrenogaster. Mycologia 97: 139–149.
Macbride, T.H. 1911. A new genus of Myxomycetes. Mycologia 3: 39–40.
Malençon, G. and Riousset, L. 1977. Pyrenogaster pithyopilus G. Malençon et L. Riousset, nouveau genre et nouvelle espèce de Gastéromycète (Geastraceae). Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France 93: 289–311.
MyCoPortal. 2021. Mycology Collections Portal. Available at: http://www.mycoportal.org
Reha, C. and Southworth, D. 2015. Stable isotope evidence for the saprotrophic status of the truffle Schenella pityophilus. North American Fungi 10: 1–7.
Siegel, N., Vellinga, E.C., Schwarz, C., Castellano, M.A. and Ikeda, D. 2019. A Field Guide to the Rare Fungi of California’s National Forests. Bookmobile: Minneapolis, MN. 313 p.