The species was originally described from thermophilous forests in Hungary and Hungary still has the highest number of known localities.
The hypogeous fungus Elaphomyces virgatosporus is a very rare ectomycorrhizal fungus with perennial ascocarps. Only a few scattered observations are known from Europe and one in US (Mississippi). The US report has been considered to represent ”an ancient, relict species originating from ages prior to the continental drift” but according to M. Castellano the American material is not E. virgatosporus. The last 30 years, the hypogeous mycoflora in northern Europe has been intensely investigated but this species is very rarely found. The truffle appears in small, threatened and relict remnants of broadleaved deciduous habitats (ecosystems) with e.g. Corylus, Fagus, Carpinus and Quercus (probably with tree-continuity and living mycelia from ancient time). No recent disperal is known.
Temperate zone in Europe. Reported from Hungary, Spain, Switzerland, NW Norway and SE Sweden (limestone island of Öland and Gotland).
In Hungary, mainly restricted to the Carpathian Basin. The number of known sites very low. Habitat overstrained by game breeding (Siller et a. 2005). The fungus would appear to well established in at least one of the Norwegian localities - a very ancient hazel dominated forest.
Not present in Switzerland: Beatrice Senn-Irlet; I do not have any record of Elaphomyces virgatosporus in my database. We have to ask the curator of the herbarium at ETH Zürich if a collection with this name exists. I tend to say no - not recorded from Switzerland.
Population Trend: Uncertain
A hypogeous fungus forming ectomycorrhiza with deciduous trees; Corylus, Quercus, Carpinus and Fagus. The records from Sweden and Norway are all from Corylus stands on ± calcareous, almost black sandy soils with low proportion of clay. The habitat can often be characterized as ”nemoral, old wooded meadows, coppice and semi-natural broadleaved stands or old hazel groves”. In Hungary associated with Quercus-Carpinus stands but has also been recorded with Fagus. In Asturias, NW Spain it was found in a stand with Castanea, Fagus and Corylus.
Main threat is logging and local exploitation. Also the very small and isolated populations.
Known localities should be protected against change in management.
Further surveys should be carried out, not least in western Norway to establish the Norwegian population size.
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Domínguez, E.R. 2015. http://www.asturnatura.com/fotografia/setas-hongos/elaphomyces-virgatosporus-hollos-2/10789.html
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