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Ramaria roellinii Schild

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Scientific name
Ramaria roellinii
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Assessment date
IUCN Red List Category
IUCN Red List Criteria
C2a(i); D1
Knutsson, T.
Dahlberg, A.

Assessment Notes

The content on this page is fetched from The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: https://www.iucnredlist.org/species/70427476/70427500


Ramaria roellinii is a saprotrophic fungus confined to calcareous, sandy soils in xerophytic grasslands. Currently it is known with small populations from about 30 localities in 3-5 countries, confined to a habitat that is in rapid decline over its known distribution. The habitat of semi-natural calcareous grasslands has decreased all over Europe. In some regions this reduction has been up to 90% over the last 100 years (Calaciura and Spinelli 2008). Considering the small population and subpopulations (less than 500 localities/10,000 individuals, and less than 1,000 mature individuals in each subpopulation) coupled with a decline/habitat deterioration, the species is listed as Vulnerable under criteria C2a(i); D1.

Taxonomic notes

Records from Italy, France and Slovenia still unconfirmed and might consider closely related species. A similar species from Italy is described as R. quercus-ilicis (Schild 1998) and Mediterranean reports of R. roellinii might be this taxon. A closely related North American species is R. murillii which needs to be investigated and compared with R. roellinii (Christan 2002).

Geographic range

This species is only known from Europe. It was described from Switzerland (but never refound) and subsequently recorded in a few localities in France, Germany and Sweden. Unconfirmed records exists from a few other European countries.

Population and Trends

It is currently confirmed from less than 30 localities worldwide but the real figure might be at least 10x higher. It is confined to a rare and declining habitat (dry calcareous steppes) under serious threats of deteriorating habitat quality in all of its known distribution.

Population Trend: decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Ramaria roellinii is a saprotrophic fungus confined to calcareous, mainly sandy soils in xerophytic habitats. Its habitat is often characterized as “steppe” but includes habitats such as steppe-like seashores as well as calcareous hill-sides (Gipshugeln, Stepprasen). Suitable habitats are very small and restricted and the species often occurs on only small parts of the localities, apparently very dependent on micro-scale edaphic factors such as, vegetation composition, pH and micro-climate. It always grows among very sparse vegetation and low (trampled/grazed) lichen and moss-communities.

The localities always host other rare and nationally listed species, (esp. Geastrum spp. and Tulostoma spp., as well as higher plants and invertebrates) and these function as “a target species” when doing conservation work in its habitats.


The habitat of semi-natural calcareous grasslands has decreased over all the species' distribution range. In some regions (Europe) this reduction has been up to 90% over the last 100 years. The effects of this general decrease is affecting rare species with small populations and narrow niches like Ramaria roellinii probably more severely. Vegetation changes resulting from abandonment of grazing, fertilization, acidification, cultivation and exploitation is the main threat for the species. Also, protecting sites is not always enough since land management is of crucial importance (grazing and small scale disturbance).

Conservation Actions

In Sweden Ramaria roellinii has been considered in a National Action Plan (Knutsson 2014). The work has been very successful considering the detailed knowledge of distribution, ecology and conservation needed to be considered. The number of known localities has increased, which however has not changed the evaluation of the status of the species that is under serious threat.

The action plan recommends the following for Ramaria roellinii: 1) Site protection to avoid exploitation, development etc. 2) Site management with grazing pressure enough to prevent vegetation changes and soil acidification 3) Consultations, education and recommendations to regional authorities and land-owners to make management plans for sites. And, 4) To change policies, regulations and subsidies (National and EU) for helping small animal-holders keep up appropriate grazing-pressure of natural grasslands.

The species needs further taxonomic investigations as some similar species are described. These should be investigated considering both morphology and DNA data. Trends for habitat of xerothermic grassland species and effects of management changes on a European/Global scale should be evaluated.

Source and Citation

Knutsson, T. 2020. Ramaria roellinii. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2020: e.T70427476A70427500. https://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2020-1.RLTS.T70427476A70427500.en .Downloaded on 31 January 2021

Country occurrence