Described from a Type collection made in Washington, USA (Marr and Stuntz 1973).
Field identification of Ramaria is often very difficult, with macromorphological differences being subtle and often intergrading (especially in older fruitbodies).
Ramaria maculatipes is an uncommon but widespread species in the Pacific Northwest and northern California, USA, currently known from ~27 locations (Siegel et al. 2019, Mycoportal 2021).
Habitat requirements are largely unknown, but it appears to be restricted to mature or old growth forests, which are in decline in the Pacific Northwest due to stand replacing fires and logging.
Rare, and with a disjunct distribution in California; occurring from coastal Mendocino County north through the Klamath range; known from the coast to the Cascade range in Oregon and Washington, as well as in the Rocky Mountains of northern Idaho.
Population is widespread, but highly disjunct. Currently known from ~40 collections from 27 locations (Siegel et al. 2019, Mycoportal 2021), about half of these are historic.
Population Trend: Decreasing
Solitary or scattered on ground, fruiting in fall. Ectomycorrhizal with conifers; especially true firs (Abies spp.), Western Hemlock (Tsuga heterophylla), and Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii). Likely restricted to mature and old growth forests, although many records do not disclose habitat information.
This is a ectomycorrhizal fungus species dependent on living host trees for viability. The major threat to this species and its co-occurring co-generic brethren is habitat destruction, via the logging of old-growth forests to which this species has a preference for. The extent of old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest of North America has declined 90% in the last century (Society of American Foresters 1984, Haynes 1986).
Climate change and droughts, along with forest management practices has made western forests highly susceptible to stand replacing forest fires. Fire is big threat to this species’ populations. A stand replacing fire could severely degrade and/or diminish its current range. Logging and machine clearing of understory vegetation should be limited in mature and old growth forest in areas where this species might occur.
This species is included on the United States Forest Service Northwest Forest Plan Survey and Manage list of rare/old growth forests dependent fungi, and has been actively surveyed for since the late 1990’s. (Castellano et al. 1999). Included on the Oregon Natural Heritage rare fungi list (Oregon Biodiversity Information Center 2019), as a S3 species, and the Washington Natural Heritage list as a S1 species.
Logging or machine clearing of understory should be limited in mature (or old growth forest) in areas this species in known to occur.
More research on the range, ecological preferences, and fruiting frequency of this species is needed. It is unknown if this species can colonize and persist in younger forests.
Castellano, M.A., Smith, J.E., O’Dell, T., Cázares, E. and Nugent, S. 1999. Handbook to Strategy 1 Fungal Species in the Northwest Forest Plan. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: Portland, OR. 195 p.
Exeter, R.L., Norvell, L. and Cázares, E. 2006. Ramaria of the Pacific Northwestern United States. United States Department of Interior, Bureau of Land Management: Salem, OR. 157 p.
Haynes, T.W. 1986. Inventory and value of old-growth in the Douglas-fir region. PNW-RN 437. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR.
Marr, C.D. and Stuntz, D.E. 1973. Ramaria of Western Washington (Bibliotheca Mycologica, Band 38). J. Cramer: Vaduz, Liechtenstein. 232 p.
MyCoPortal. 2021. http://mycoportal.org/portal/index.php. Accessed on February 18.
Oregon Biodiversity Information Center. 2019. 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.
Society of American Foresters. 1984. Scheduling the harvest of old growth : Old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest : a position of the Society of American Foresters and Report of the SAF Task Force on Scheduling the Harvest of Old-Growth Timber. Bethesda, MD.
Washington Natural Heritage Program List of Macrofungi https://www.dnr.wa.gov/publications/amp_nh_macrofungi.pdf