A small brown mushroom growing in wet meadow with a cap that doesn’t open, as the name suggest, reminiscent of Polytrichum moss capsules, and which The declining snow pack, and drier climate in California has reduced suitable habitat. Rarely reported; known from eleven locations in the Sierra Nevada, USA, three locations on Mount Shasta, and a single location from Mount Lassen. It appears to need saturated meadows and mossy areas. The declining snow pack, and drier climate in California has reduced suitable habitat. Currently known from 15 sites; based on data regarding numbers of wet meadows in mid to high elevations in potential range, we assume the total number of populations not to exceed 400 with in total less than 10,000 mature individuals. It is assessed as Vulnerable as it has a small and declining population size as C2 a(i).
Described by Zeller (1941) as Secotium polytrichoides, based on a collection made at Mount Shasta, in Siskiyou County, California. Galeropsis was erected in 1943 to accommodate this species.
Only known from California, USA. Currently known from 15 sites in high elevation meadows and seeps on Mount Shasta and Mount Lassen in the southern Cascades and scattered sites in the Sierra Nevada mountains in California. A collection was reported from Colorado, USA (2017), has been discounted based on different micro-morphology.
Currently known from 15 locations, in high elevation meadows and seeps in the Sierra Nevada and Cascade ranges. Meadows in the California mountains are well mapped; Viers. et.al (2013) estimate that there are 17,039 meadows in the Sierra Nevada, covering 191,900 acres (77,659 hectares). However, just a small portion of these meadows have suitable habitat for Galeropsis polytrichoides. The declining snow pack, and drier climate in California has reduced suitable habitat. It is likely that dispersal limitation is an important factor influencing this species’ distribution and population dynamics.The diminutive stature and dull colors make this a difficult mushroom to spot, and thus, likely to be under reported. Based on data regarding numbers of wet meadows in mid to high elevations in potential range, we assume the total number of locations not to exceed 400 locations/populations with on average 20 mature individuals (cf Dahlberg & Mueller, 2011) with in total less than 10,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Galeropsis polytrichoides is a small to tiny saprobic brown mushroom with a thin stipe, a wispy partial veil of whitish to buff fibrils and cylindrical to obtuse-conical cap that doesn’t open, as the name suggest a reminiscent of Polytrichum moss capsules. It grows solitary or scattered in bogs, moist meadows, seeps, and along stream banks; often in moss or grass. It appears to need saturated meadows and mossy areas. Fruiting in spring and summer, from snowmelt moisture, known sites are from 1,500 m to 3,050 m. This species has an uncommon combination of above ground fruitbodies with sequestrate fertile surfaces, and without apparent adaptations for mammal dispersal; it is likely that dispersal limitation is an important factor influencing this species’ distribution and population dynamics. No specific data is available to dispersal methods.
Loss of winter snowpack in the Cascade and Sierra Nevada ranges (Mote, et al. 2018); especially in lover elevations has changed the water regimes in meadows. Invasion of non-native grasses has has altered the plant dynamics. Cattle grazing, trampling and soil compaction has degraded habitat. Channels (from cattle or humans) have cause considerable runoff; as a result many wet meadows have become dryer (Viers et al. 2013). Tree encroachment on meadow systems due to fire suppression in the Sierra Nevada has also made meadows considerably dryer (Viers et al. 2013).
Surveying suitable habitat for occurrence. Fungi are under surveyed in California, and efforts should be made to locate new locations and monitor existing occurrences. Observer the spread of invasive grass species into high elevation meadows, and how it changes habitat, and if it makes it ill suited for Galeropsis polytrichoides. Spore dispersal methods are poorly understood; a better understanding of dispersal could help with conservation issues.
Desjardin, D.E., M.G. Wood & F.A. Stevens. 2015. California Mushrooms: The Comprehensive Identification Guide. Timber Press: Portland, OR.
Thiers, H.D. & R. Watling. 1971. Secotiaceous Fungi from Western United States. Madroño 21: 1–9.
Mote, P.W., L. Sihan, D.P. Lettenmaier, M. Xiao & R. Engel. 2018. Dramatic declines in snowpack in the western US. npj Climate and Atmospheric Science (2018) 1:2 ; doi:10.1038/s41612-018-0012-1
Viers J.H, Purdy S, Peek RA, Fryjoff-Hung A, Santos NR, Katz JVE, Emmons JD, Dolan DV, Yarnell SM. 2013. Montane Meadows in the Sierra Nevada: Changing Hydroclimatic Conditions and Concepts for Vulnerability Assessment. Center for Watershed Sciences Technical Report. Center for Watershed Sciences, University of California, Davis. Davis, CA.
Wood, M. and F. Stevens. 2017 Mykoweb: California Fungi. http://mykoweb.com/CAF/species/Galeropsis_polytrichoides.html
Zeller, S.M. 1941. Further notes on fungi. Mycologia 33: 196-214.
Zeller, S.M. 1943. North American species of Galeropsis, Gyrophragmium, Longia, and Montagnea. Mycologia 35: 409-421.
MyCoPortal. Mycology Collections Portal. Available at: http://mycoportal.org