This species is uncommon to rare through much of range. In various national red lists in Europe, it is listed as rare or threatened with extinction.
EUROPE: Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Luxembourg, Poland, Rumania, Slovenia, Spain, UK NORTH AMERICA: USA (Oregon). Introduced to Argentina (Barroetaveña, Rajchenberg & Cázares, 2005).
Because trained dogs can find hypogeous fungi more easily than humans, estimates of abundance of all hypogeous species in Europe tend to be higher in Mediterranean countries where there is a tradition of using such animals. There are various reports, including MONTECCHI & SARASINI (2000) that the fungus is rather common in Europe, and in a study of the distribution of underground fungi in 11 natural zones of northern Italy, GREGORI (2001) reported that B. vulgaris was one of the more common species. ŁAWRYNOWICZ (2006), however, implied that it is rarer than B. platyspora. The species has been red-listed as rare in Poland, and as threatened with extinction in Germany generally and for Nordrhein-Westfalen in particular. In a study of fungi of the USA portion of the Columbia River basin (internet reference), the species was assessed, along with other hypogeous ascomycetes, as of medium priority for consideration as a species of “special concern”. Using IUCN Categories and Criteria, MINTER (2007) evaluated the conservation status of this species globally as Near Threatened (Data Deficient).
Population Trend: Uncertain
The species has been observed in January, August, October, November and December. Fruitbodies are typically found below leaves or conifer needles, only just embedded in humus over stones and clay or other soil, or up to about 3 cm deep in soil. Generally associated with deciduous woodland, occurring most frequently under moss in adjacent meadows and clearings. There are records from soils of pH 7.4. Associated plants: Carpinus sp.; Castanea sp.; Cistus albidus; Corylus sp.; Fagus sylvatica; Larix sp.; Pinus ponderosa; Pseudotsuga menziesii; Quercus sp.; Salix sp.; Tilia sp. Other associated organisms: Muscopsida. Other substrata: humus, soil.
This species has been commercially exploited: VITTADINI (1831) observed that, disguised with a thin covering of yellowish clay to look like a species of Tuber, it was sold under false pretences in Italian markets of the time. There is, however, no recent evidence for this continuing.
BARROETAVEÑA, C., RAJCHENBERG, M. & CÁZARES, E. Mycorrhizal fungi in Pinus ponderosa introduced in central Patagonia (Argentina). Nova Hedwigia 80: 453-464 (2005). BONTEA, V. Ciuperci Parazite şi Saprofite din România 2: 471 pp. (1986). CHMIEL, M.A. Checklist of Polish Larger Ascomycetes. Kraków, W. Szafer Institute of Botany, Polish Academy of Sciences: 152 pp. (2006). COMMANDINI, O., CONTU, M. & RINALDI, A.C. An overview of Cistus ectomycorrhizal fungi. Mycorrhiza 16: 381-395 (2006). DONADINI, J.C. Les balsamiacées sont des Helvellacées: cytologie et scanning de Balsamia vulgaris Vitt. et de Balsamia platyspora Berk. et Br. Bulletin Trimestriel de la Société Mycologique de France 102 (4): 373-387 (1986). GREGORI, G. Individuazione di aree tartuficole nel Friuli-Venezia Giulia. Prima parte [Location of truffle areas in Friuli-Venezia Giulia. First part]. Notiziario ERSA 14 (5): 27-32 (2001). HAWKER, L.E. British hypogeous fungi. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London Series B 237: 429-546, 29 figs (1954). HAWKER, L.E. Revised annotated list of British hypogeous fungi. Transactions of the British Mycological Society 63: 67-76 (1974). JURC, D., PILTAVER, A. & OGRIS, N. Glive Slovenije / Fungi of Slovenia. Studia Forestalia Slovenica 124: i-vi, 1-497 (2005). ŁAWRYNOWICZ, M. Chorology of the European hypogeous ascomycetes. II. Tuberales. Acta Mycologica Warszawa 26 (1): 7-75 (1990, publ. 1991). ŁAWRYNOWICZ, M. Hypogeous fungi collected in Estonia in 1989 and 1999. Folia Cryptogamica Estonica 43: 67-71 (2006) [available on-line at http://www.ut.ee/ial5/fce/FCE_eLibrary/FCEeBooks/FCE42eBook.pdf]. MINTER, D.W. Balsamia vulgaris. IMI Descriptions of Fungi and Bacteria No. 1712 (2007). MORENO-ARROYO, B., GÓMEZ, J. & PULIDO, E. Tesoros de Nuestros Montes. Trufas de Andalucía. (Córdoba, Spain: Consejería de Medio Ambiente, Junta de Andalucía): 352 pp. (2005). MONTECCHI, A. & SARASINI, M. Funghi Ipogei d’Europa (Trento, Italy: Associazione Micologica Bresadola): [i-vi] 714 pp. (2000). PEGLER, D.N., SPOONER, B.M. & YOUNG, T.W.K. British Truffles a Revision of British Hypogeous Fungi (Kew, UK: Royal Botanic Gardens): [i-viii], 216 pp., 26 plates (1993). THOEN, D. & SCHULTHEIS, B. Checklist provisoire des champignons hypogés du Luxembourg. Bulletin de la Société des Naturalistes Luxembourgeois 103: 31-44 (2003). VITTADINI, C. Monographia Tuberacearum (Milano, Italy: Rusconi): [i-viii] 88 pp., 5 plates (1831).
See also the following internet pages:
http://aropath.lanl.gov/Organisms/Acronyms_sorted_by_species.html (aromatic metabolic pathways);
http://taxon.molgen.mpg.de/getinfo?74850 (information about genetic code);
http://www.asturnatura.com/articulos/revista/catalogohongosast.pdf (occurrence in Spain);
http://www.bfn.de/fileadmin/MDB/documents/RoteListePflanzen.pdf (red listing for Germany);
http://www.cof.orst.edu/cf/wildlife/species_list.php (occurrence and conservation status evaluation in the Columbia River basin of the USA);
http://www.funghi.provincia.pu.it/index.php?id=5794 (associated organisms and edibility in Italy);
http://www.grzyby.pl/czerwona-lista-skorowidz-lat.htm (red listing for Poland);
http://www.manitari.gr/karpofories/07/fevruarios.htm (occurrence in Greece);
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/sites/entrez?term=AF054905&cmd=Search&db=nuccore&QueryKey=1 (information about genetic code);
www3.lanuv.nrw.de/static/infosysteme/roteliste/pdfs/s259.pdf (red listing for Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany).