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Lepiota luteophylla Sundb.

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Scientific name
Lepiota luteophylla
Author
Sundb.
Common names
Yellow-gilled Lepiota
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Kingdom
Fungi
Phylum
Basidiomycota
Class
Agaricomycetes
Order
Agaricales
Family
Agaricaceae
Assessment status
Assessed
Preliminary Category
CR D
Proposed by
Christian Schwarz
Assessors
Else Vellinga
Editors
Christian Schwarz, Noah Siegel
Comments etc.
Debbie Viess
Reviewers
Anders Dahlberg

Assessment Status Notes

The only site known probably represents a single mycelium likely representing 1 genet. There are less than 5 other sites with suitable habitat, and thus, the total population of mature individuals is estimated to be significantly less than < 50.

This qualified the species for listing as Critically Endangered (CR) within the D criterion.

Additionally, the lack of encounters despite targeted surveys in the 40 years since its description, and the lack of large groves of cypress in the same age class as the habitat from which it was described leads us to further suggest that it may be Critically Endangered and Possibly Extinct (CR (PE)).

Taxonomic notes

Readily distinguished from other Lepiota by its yellow lamellae in combination with its distinctive hymenidermal pileipellis giving rise to loose elements (Vellinga 2010, Siegel and Schwarz 2016).

Accomodation in Cystolepiota not supported (Vellinga, 2003). (Phylogeny of Lepiota (Agaricaceae) – Evidence from nrITS and nrLSU sequences): “Lepiota scaberula, L. cystophoroides, and L. luteophylla do not have a simple hymenidermal pileus covering, but one giving rise to loose cells. On account of this architecture of the pileus covering, L. luteophylla was accommodated in Cystolepiota (Knudsen 1978). That position does not seem acceptable, in light of the present data. As in many other species of this clade, the spores are not dextrinoid.”

No color images exist of Lepiota luteophylla, and it is not represented by any acceptable collections in the decades since its description.


Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

The saprotrophic litter dwelling fungus Lepiota luteophylla appear to be a very rare fungus with specific habitat requirement. Despite its distinctive appearance and extensive targeted surveys in appropriate habitat (including type locality) by mycologists, it is only known from a single site, one of the few remaining large-scale groves of Monterey Cypress (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa) which have a well-developed duff layer.

The only site known probably represents a single mycelium likely representing 1 genet. There are less than 5 other sites with suitable habitat, and thus, the total population of mature individuals is estimated to be significantly less than < 50.

This species qualifies for listing as Critically Endangered (CR) within the D criterion.

Additionally, the lack of encounters despite targeted surveys in the 40 years since its description, and the lack of large groves of cypress in the same age class as the habitat from which it was described leads us to further suggest that it may be Critically Endangered and Possibly Extinct (CR (PE)).

Two upper midwest (USA) collections are considered to be misidentifications and were not considered in this assessment.

 


Geographic range

Described from a small area in duff of Monterey Cypress (Hesperocyparis macrocarpa) at the San Francisco Watershed, San Mateo County, California, USA. Not known from any other sites or localities.

We consider the two collections referred to this name from Michigan and Wisconsin to represent a different taxon; these collections are not considered in this assessment.


Population and Trends

Population size unknown, but Sundberg describes the seven collections from the type locality as having been encountered annually over a period of six years, probably indicative of a single, perennial mycelium.

No collections known from recent decades since its description. Despite intensive surveys specifically aimed at inventorying Lepiota and Leucoagaricus taxa associated with Monterey Cypress at the type locality during 2002 and 2003, this species was not encountered (Vellinga, pers comm). Broader surveys of Monterey Cypress in central California from 2010-2016 (Siegel and Schwarz) also failed to locate this species.

We consider this to be preliminary evidence of a declining population.

Population Trend: Deteriorating


Habitat and Ecology

Saprobic humus-decayers, but like many other Lepiota, Leucoagaricus, and Agaricus, this species probably prefers thick accumulations of needle duff and rich humus of Monterey Cypress. Many such fungi appear to have very strong habitat preferences, and many of them are rarely encountered in other habitats. From Vellinga (2006): “Stands of [Hesperocyparis macrocarpa] ... in coastal California are rich in lepiotaceous species (white-spored members of the family Agaricaceae) ... A high number of these species may grow together in a small area, such as a single Monterey cypress stand in the San Francisco Watershed (Vellinga 2004), where 25 species were encountered in the 2002/2003 mushroom season.”

Although Monterey Cypress is very widely planted globally, the trimmed hedges, windrows, and singletons that are commonly encountered do not appear to be suitable habitat for many of the rarer fungi that associate with Monterey Cypress where it occurs in larger groves. Of the few older stands of this tree that do exist (most of which are planted), only a few have a well-developed duff layer.  Even among these sites, there appears to be significant heterogeneity in the occurrence of of cypress-associated fungi to these refugia, perhaps limited by constraints on dispersal.

Fruiting events are likely annual but somewhat opportunistic. Like many duff-decaying species found under Monterey Cypress, with potential to occur at any point in the ~6 month duration of the wet season.

The habitat of the Wisconsin and Michigan collections were not considered in this account. Given the distinctness of the habitat at the type locality, the tendency of Californian Agaricaceae associated with Monterey Cypress to show strong habitat preference (many of these fungi are not found away from these trees), and the distance of the upper midwest collections from the type locality, it is not only defensible but prudent to exclude them from consideration this assessment.

Temperate Forest

Threats

Very few large-scale groves of Monterey Cypress-dominated habitat exist. This tree (which dominates and defines that habitat at the type location) is listed as Vulnerable (IUCN 3.1) due to its tiny native range (two relict populations in Monterey County, California): The native range of the tree is represented by two very small groves with a total estimated area of occupancy (AOO) of 13 sq. km. or less.

The type locality for Lepiota luteophylla is a planted grove of significantly large extent, but only a few other similar localities exist in California, none of which have yet yielded records of this fungus.

The naturalized groves of Monterey Cypress are at risk of destruction by fire, drought stress, and other impacts related to climate change.  Plantings of these trees near human settlements are often severely degraded by the removal of lower limbs and duff (making the habitat less suitable for associated litter-inhabiting fungi), as well as by extensive intrusion smothering the duff layer by a number of invasive plants including Hedera helix, Delairea odorata, and Vinca major.

The majority of the known population (California) appears to be Critically Endangered and even possibly regionally extinct (no collections in 40 years despite targeted surveys in the type locality and most marginally similar habitats. At this point, there is no comparable Monterey Cypress habitat (in terms of a combination of humus development and age of trees) in California.

Fire & fire suppressionNamed speciesDroughts

Conservation Actions

Survey existing groves of Monterey Cypress (both in native range as well as in planted groves) to determine whether the known population from the type locality is still extant, and whether other populations exist. Develop interpretive materials for use at state parks, watersheds, state property, and public lands where Monterey Cypress groves exist. Work to develop understanding that existing groves which act as refugia for Monterey Cypress mycoflora should be protected.  Recommend land managers in more urban areas that groves of Monterey Cypress be managed in such a way that the duff layer remains as intact as possible (avoid removing lower limbs, avoid raking duff, limit foot traffic). Remove invasive vines and other plants from existing Monterey Cypress groves, especially Common Ivy (Hedera helix), Cape Ivy (Delairea odorata), and Greater Periwinkle (Vinca major).

Site/area protectionInvasive/problematic species controlAwareness & communications

Research needed

Continue surveying suitable groves of Monterey Cypress, (with special focus on the type locality) to determine whether the known population is still extant and whether other populations exist.

ITS data exists in Genbank for one of the Michigan collections (AY176475); genetic data from a collection from the type locality collection should be obtained and compared. In the unlikely event that the two are found to be conspecific, we would recommend reassessment to Data Deficient, since the habitat association and range would then be very difficult to characterize, but no collections have been made in either location since.

TaxonomyPopulation size, distribution & trendsPopulation trends

Use and Trade


Bibliography

Sundberg, W. J. 1971. A new species of Lepiota. Mycologia 63: 79–82.

Siegel, N and Schwarz, C. 2016. Mushrooms of the Redwood Coast. Ten Speed Press, Emeryville, CA.

Vellinga, E.C. (2003). Phylogeny of Lepiota (Agaricaceae) - Evidence from nrITS and nrLSU sequences. Mycological Progress 2 (4): 305-322.

Else C. Vellinga. 2010. Lepiota in California: species with a hymeniform pileus covering. Mycologia 102: 664-674. doi: 10.3852/09-180.

Vellinga, E.C., 2007 Lepiotaceous fungi in California, U.S.A. – 2. Lepiota rhodophylla. Mycotaxon 98: 205-211.


Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted