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Cortinarius alcalinophilus Rob. Henry

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Scientific name
Cortinarius alcalinophilus
Rob. Henry
Common names
Паутинник щелочелюбивый
fläckig saffransspindling
fläckig saffransspindling
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
Svetasheva, T., Brandrud, T.-E. & Krisai-Greilhuber, I.
Dahlberg, A.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/204091995/204093992


Cortinarius alcalinophilus is a rare ectomycorrhizal fungus associated with calcareous, temperate Quercus-Carpinus and Fagus forests, as well as Mediterranean sclerophyllous Quercus forests. It is but widely distributed throughout the European Quercus-Fagus forest range. The largest subpopulations are known from western Europe. Its major habitat (calcareous Quercus-Carpinus-Fagus forests) occupies small and fragmented areas, and is declining throughout most of Europe due to habitat loss from to urbanization, lime quarries, etc., and to impaired ecological conditions due to modern forestry, eutrophication, oak diseases, and possibly also climate changes with severe droughts. The species is known from approximately 300 localities in Europe and overall it is estimated to be present at approximately 3,000 localities. Cortinarius alcalinophilus is suspected to decline in the same magnitude as the decline of the calcareous Quercus-Carpinus-Fagus which is estimated to be c. 20% since 1970, which is expected to continue into the future. Based on this, the species is assessed as NT according to the A-criterion (A2c+3c+4c).

Taxonomic notes

Several names have been applied for Cortinarius alcalinophilus, the most frequent names used are C. majusculus and C. fulmineus (s. Lange).

Geographic range

Cortinarius alcalinophilus has a wide European distribution, probably throughout the temperate-mediterranean European Quercus-Fagus forests range. It is known at least from 16 countries, with the highest populations in western central Europe (most localities known from France-Germany-Denmark-south Sweden), and it is much more rare in eastern-southeastern Europe (Bohus 1976, Brandrud et al. 1996, Breitenbach and Kränzlin 2000, Mahiques 2000, Krieglsteiner and Gminder 2010, GBIF.org 2021, Poler et al. 2021). The species is rarely recorded east-southeast to the Tula region (and Stavropol/Caucasus regions of European Russia (probably also occurring in Turkey), and north to the northern mixed oak forest border of Sweden.

Population and Trends

Cortinarius alcalinophilus is known from approximately 50 localities in south Sweden, 50 in Denmark, 70 in Germany, approximately 30 in Hungary, 10 in Austria, 10 in Spain, seven in Switzerland, five in Russia, as well as five in Slovenia. From literature references and a few records in national maps, the number of known records from France is > 30, and >10 from Italy (GBIF and national databases). The species is also reported with a few records from UK, Belgium, Greece, Poland and Czechia. In total the number of known localities is approximately 300. Based on this, and the overall the total number of localities with C. alcalinophilus is estimated to be approximately 3,000 localities, typically with a few genetically unique mycelium at each. The species is included in the national Red Lists of Denmark (VU, Den danske Rødliste 2019), Sweden (VU, SLU Artdatabanken 2020) and Germany (under threat, Rote-Liste-Zentrum 2021). Calcareous Fagus forests (Cephalanthero Fagion) and calcareous Quercus-Carpinus forests (EU habitat codes 9160, 9170 and 9150) are assessed as Unfavourable-Inadequate or Unfavourable-Bad Habitat assessments at the EU biogeographical level due to indicators of structure and function and bad future prospects (European Environment Agency, 2013-2018). These habitats have an ongoing and significant decline due to natural and anthropogenic reasons (transformation to other types of habitats due to forestry, eutrophication etc). Also climate change may impact this species in some areas, where oak forests may die out due to severe droughts. According to the European Red List of habitats, these habitats are categorized as NT (Janssen et al. 2016). The decline of the calcareous Quercus-Carpinus forests in the 50 year evaluation period of ectomycorrhizal fungi (Dahlberg and Mueller 2011) is estimated to be over 20%. Based on this, the species is assessed as NT according to the A-criterion (A2c + A3c + A4c).

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Cortinarius alcalinophilus is a thermophilic and calciphilic species inhabiting temperate and Mediterranean frondose forests (Brandrud et al. 1989–1998), which accumulate a quite thick layer of leaf litter capable to keep moisture. The main types of habitat are calcareous Fagus forests (Cephalanthero Fagion) and calcareous Quercus-Carpinus forests. It forms mycorrhiza with Fagus sylvatica, F. orientalis, Quercus spp, including sclerophyllous Quercus species as well as Carpinus betulus and C. avellana. From south-east Sweden (Öland) it is also reported from dry, open Helianthemum sites without trees, adjacent to Corylus woodlands (Brandrud et al. 1996).


Cortinarius alcalinophilus is negatively affected by threats impacting its forest habitats such as habitat decline and area loss due to forestry, eutrophication and possibly also increasing draught due to climate change. The major habitats, calcareous Fagus forests (Cephalantero-Fagion) and calcareous Quercus-Carpinus forests, are declining in most parts of Europe (Janssen et al. 2016).

Conservation Actions

It is included in red data lists of Austria (VU, Dämon and Krisai-Greilhuber 2017), Sweden (VU, SLU Artdatabanken 2020), Denmark (VU, Den danske Rødliste 2019), Germany (Rote-Liste-Zentrum 2021), and protected in some regions of Russia (Red Data Book of Tula Oblast, Shcherbakov 2010). Potential conservation actions could be, (1) to prevent the decline and further fragmentation of calcareous Quercus-Carpinus and Fagus forests, (2) to set aside reserves at calcareous hotspots housing many rare/Red Listed, habitat-specific species such as Cortinarius alcalinophilus, C. bulliardii, C. eucaeruleus and C. odoratus and (3) to identify and establish sites where less strict conservation regimes can be appropriate with customized extensive forestry that enable established mycorrhizal fungal species to survive.

The species is insufficiently documented, especially in parts of eastern and southern Europe. Hence, more surveying and monitoring of C. alcalinophilus is desirable. Similarily, a better understanding of the ecology of C. alcalinophilus would improve the possibilities for effective conservation management.

Use and Trade

No use or trade is known.

Source and Citation

Svetasheva, T., Brandrud, T.-E. & Krisai-Greilhuber, I. 2021. Cortinarius alcalinophilus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2021: e.T204091995A204093992. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2021-2.RLTS.T204091995A204093992.en .Downloaded on 24 September 2021

Country occurrence