Described as Scleroderma subviscidum (Zeller 1947) from a collection made in Jackson County, Oregon. Later transferred to Elaphomyces (Trappe and Guzmán 1971) where is resides today.
Some of the collections going by the name Elaphomyces subviscidus are likely misidentified. The Colorado collection was made under Ponderosa Pine (Pinus ponderosa) and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii), and has substantially larger spores; the Utah collection was made under White Fir (Abies concolor) and Ponderosa Pine. More investigation is warranted, as these may pertain to distinct species.
Many western North American Elaphomyces species are using misapplied European epithets, or have not had any species name attached to them; work is under way resolving this.
Elaphomyces subviscidus is an extremely rare species; currently only known from three sites in Oregon, two of which are historic. It is also reported from single collections from Idaho, Utah and Colorado, however discrepancies with spore measurements call into question
the identity of these reports.
Known from three locations in high elevation forest in the Oregon Cascade and Coast Range, and reported from single sites in Idaho, Utah and Colorado, but these Rocky Mountain collections should be scrutinized.
Little is known about this species and its habitat requirements, so population and trends are tough to assess. Currently known from three locations in Oregon, and three isolated sites in Idaho, Utah and Colorado (however there is some question of the identity of these collections). Two of the Oregon collections are historic records, it has been found at location in the Oregon Coast Range under Noble fir (Abies procera) more recently.
Elaphomyces subviscidus is listed as a sensitive species by the USDA Forest Service (Castellano et al. 1999), and subjected to strategic surveys, yet no new locations have been found in 20 plus years of random and strategic surveys.
Even through it has not been reported from California, this species was included in A Field Guide to the Rare Fungi of California’s National Forests (Siegel et al. 2019) in hopes it would be discovered, or at least surveyed for, from similar habitat in the southern Cascade Range in California.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Hypogeous, solitary or scattered in duff or soil under Lodgepole Pine (Pinus contorta), Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and Mountain Hemlock (Tsuga mertensiana). Ectomycorrhizal. The type collection was exposed (“above ground on decayed granite soil”), and the Colorado collection was emergent; suggesting it is rarely buried deep in the soil. This species is dependent on mycophagy (primarily eaten by small mammals) for spore dispersal.
A poorly known species; more sites need to be discovered to properly assess and identify suitable habitat, and threats to habitat of this species.
Protect known sites from management activities, including logging, fuels reduction, or other development and disturbance.
Continued collecting of, and work on the taxonomy of Elaphomyces in western North America. More detailed habitat constraints of Elaphomyces subviscidus.
Castellano, M., Smith, J.E., O’Dell, T., Cázares, E. and Nugent, S. 1999. Handbook to Strategy 1 Fungal Species in the Northwest Forest Plan. General Technical Report PNW-GTR-476. United States Department of Agriculture.
Fogel, R. and Trappe, J.M. 1976. Additions to the hypogeous mycoflora of Colorado. I. Ascomycetes. Mycotaxon 4(1): 211–217.
MyCoPortal. Mycology Collections Portal. Available at: http://mycoportal.org
Oregon Biodiversity Information Center. 2016. Rare, Threatened and Endangered Species of Oregon. Institute for Natural Resources, Portland State University, Portland, Oregon.
Siegel, N., Vellinga, E.C., Schwarz, C., Castellano, M.A. and Ikeda, D. 2019. A Field Guide to the Rare Fungi of California’s National Forests. Bookmobile: Minneapolis, MN. 313 p.
Trappe, J.M. and Guzmán, G. 1971. A newly determined species of Elaphomyces from Oregon. Madroño 21: 128–130.
Zeller, S.M. 1947. More notes on Gasteromycetes. Mycologia 39: 282–312.