• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • CRAssessed
  • 5Published

Abstoma purpureum (Lloyd) G. Cunn.

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Scientific name
Abstoma purpureum
(Lloyd) G. Cunn.
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Category
Proposed by
Jerry Cooper
Jerry Cooper
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg
Gregory Mueller

Assessment Notes


Abstoma purpureum is a New Zealand very rare endemic thick-skinned, sand-dune saprotrophic puffball. Intact sand-dunes un-imapcted by invasive species are uncommon in New Zealand. It is only been reported from 7 records at 3 sites over the period 1920 to 1949.  The known sites are severely fragmented, with two known populations, one around Levin in North Island, and the other at Karitane in South Island. Despite extensive searches, there are no confirmed records for 70 years. The type of sand dune habitat where it has been recorded is subjected to an ongoing decline of quality and quantity. The quality and area of habitat has declined significantly in 50 years

The species is assessed as Critically Endangered under D due to a very small and restricted population. The known number of functional individuals is 3 and increased it to 6 to allow for undetected individuals, and using a x 5 multiplier to convert to 30 mature individuals. However we note that there are no confirmed records for 70 years and the species may be extinct.

Taxonomic notes

Abstoma purpureum is a New Zealand endemic thick-skinned, saprotrophic sand-dune puffball. The white golf-ball sized fruitbodies are noticeable. Australian records under the name Abstoma purpureum are likely to be misidentifications of Abstoma reticulatum. The only deposited sequence of Abstoma purpureum from the USA, 1923 is a misidentification of a Mycenastrum.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Abstoma purpureum is a New Zealand endemic thick-skinned, sand-dune puffball. The species is rare, not recorded for several decades, and its habitat under multiple threats.

Preliminary assessment: CR D1
Assessed by Jerry Cooper 2019-06-06

Geographic range

Abstoma purpureum is endemic and only reliably recorded from New Zealand.

Population and Trends

Abstoma purpureum is only known (definitively) from 3 sand-dune sites (coastal and inland) in New Zealand and not recorded since 1949. An unverified record from 1981 has been excluded.  Larger fungi in New Zealand have been surveyed extensively during annual week-long fungal forays since 1986, and more recently though the engagement of 2,500 observers of 50,000 fungal records as part of the iNaturalist. NZ Citizen Science platform. In addition, the puffballs have been actively surveyed by New Zealand mycologists Ross Beever and Jerry Cooper over a period of 20 years. No records have been made, despite visits to likely sand-dune sites during the fruiting season. It is currently unknown if the species still occurs in the known sites, or whether these sites are under specific threat, but in general all natural sand-dunes systems in New Zealand have suffered significant decline/change with no indication that this has been arrested. The population of any species specific to these habitats will therefore continue to decline accordingly. The absence of records suggest a very restricted distribution and our estimates therefore include only the verified sites.

Based on 7 known records, the Extent of Occurrence of Abstoma purpureum is estimated as 4,000 km2 , Area of Occupancy 12 km2. 

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Abstoma purpureum is a saprophtrophic puffball specific to sand-dunes.

Coastal Sand Dunes


Abstoma purpureum is under threat from: 1) decline in sand dunes due to land-use change, 2) invasion and vegetation change by exotic species, especially Ammophila arenaria , 3) climate change and increased storm events impacting on coastal erosion, 4) increased recreational use of beeches.  All records for functional individuals fall within land areas classified as Category 1:

<10% pre-colonisation indigenous cover remaining (Walker S, Cieraad E, Barringer J 2015. The Threatened Environment Classification for New Zealand 2012: a guide for users. Landcare Research Report LC2184). New Zealand sand-dunes have decreased by 30% in the period 1970-2008 (


Tourism & recreation areasRecreational activitiesNamed speciesStorms & flooding

Conservation Actions

Awareness of known sites needs improving so they are considered in any planning and consent processing, and in existing dune restoration and weed management activities.

Resource & habitat protectionInvasive/problematic species controlHabitat & natural process restorationAwareness & communicationsPolicies and regulations

Research needed

Surveys are required to confirm the presence of the species at historic sites, and any potential new sites. The species (and the genus) require genetic characterisation.

TaxonomyPopulation size, distribution & trends

Use and Trade

There is no use and trade known.



Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted