It is a conspicuous, widespread and rare ectomycorrhizal fungus with the main subpopulation in the Central and Southern Appalachian Mountain Chain in eastern North America, and isolated occurrences in Mississippi, and Mexico. It is not possible to state anything about the trend of the species´ population. However, its apparent extreme rareness qualify it to be listed as Near Threatened based on an estimated number of mature individuals no to exceed 2000 judged from the small number of sites known in the USA and Mexico.
Described from Tennessee, USA. Collections from Mississippi (USA) and Mexico are considered to belong this species, but this has to be confirmed.
Ectomycorrhizal, with disjunct distribution and fragmented in range. Iconic for the mycoflora of the Great Smoky Mountains in central eastern USA, and cloud forests in Mexico.
Confined to Mexico and USA.The Central and Southern Appalachian Mountain Chain, known from a number of localities in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park of Tennessee and North Carolina, one or two in Virginia, and in Mississippi. In three states in Mexico: Veracruz (near the Gulf of Mexico), and Guerrero and Oaxaca in the southern part near the Pacific Ocean.
NEED INPUT FROM MEXICO
True population size is hard to assess due to the fact that this species is not producing fruitbodies every year. There are five observations of this species from 2009 till 2018 on MushroomObserver (mushroomobserver.org), a popular web site; there are less than 50 herbarium collections of this species from the USA, that is easy to recognize. The number of sites for this species in Mexico is estimated to be @@ based on @@.
An ectomycorrhizal fungus growing in mixed deciduous forests with Tsuga canadensis on relatively nutrient-poor soils, at low- to mid-elevation of the Appalachian mountain range from Virginia southwards, with most occurrences in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Fruiting irregularly. In Mexico it grows in species rich (sub)tropical cloud forests.
The threats to the occurrence of this species differ according to country of occurrence. In the USA changes in habitat and in Mexico disappearance of the habitat are most important. Changes in habitat: nutrient enrichment, decline of Tsuga canadensis due to Hemlock woolly adelgid (an invasive pest) outbreaks, and changes in the forest composition due to changes in climate. The species composition of the forests of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park is predicted to change considerably, under different models of climate change and nutrient deposition (Iverson et al. 2008). The current mix of deciduous trees will be replaced by oaks and pines, and the current vegetation’s optimum habitat will move northeastwards. The cloud forests of Mexico have been under continuous stress and the area has decreased considerably (González-Espinosa et al. 2012). Due to climate change the habitat will also in the future be under continuous stress. The extreme disjunct and fragmented nature of the distribution of this species adds to the vulnerability.
The basic biology of this species is unknown, and research into its population size, its ectomycorrhizal host(s), generation time, and conditions under which it reproduces is badly needed.
Giachini A, Hosaka K, Nouhra E, Spatafora J, Trappe JM. 2010. Phylogenetic relationships of the Gomphales based on nuc-25S-rDNA, mit-12S-rDNA, and mit-atp6-DNA combined sequences. Fungal Biology 114: 224–234.
González-Espinosa M, Meave JA, Ramírez-Marcial N, Toledo-Aceves T, Lorea-Hernández FG, Ibarra-Manríquez G. 2012. Los bosques de niebla de México: conservación y restauración de su componente arbóreo. Ecosistemas 21: 36-52.
Iverson LR, Prasad AM, Matthews SN, Peters M. 2008. Estimating potential habitat for 134 eastern US tree species under six climate scenarios. Forest Ecology and Management 254: 390-406.
Smith AH, Hesler LR. 1943. New and interesting agarics fro Tennessee and North Carolina. Lloydia 6: 248–266.