The original description of the species (Malençon & Bertault, 1963) is based on specimen growing on Juniperus oxycedrus L. in Morocco. The first European record is from Spain, province Guadalajara, growing as a saprobe on Juniperus thurifera L. (Garcia-Manjon & Moreno, 1981). Later, Ryvarden (1991) described a new genus with the type species Lenzitella malenconii Ryvarden (nom. illegit., MB355118, and Index Fungorum, Art. 52.1).
A very rare species, known only from a small number of localities in Mediterranean region (Morocco, Spain, Italy, Turkey and Macedonia). In Macedonia it grows exclusively as a saprobe on very old Juniperus foetidissima, while in Turkey records on Juniperus foetidissima and Juniperus excelsa is known. In Italy it is collected on Juniperus oxycedrus and in Spain on Juniperus oxycedrus and Juniperus turifera. The species requires old trees for fruiting, The known populations are very small and forest fires constitute a very real threat.
Updated number of known occupied trees in Mediterranean region are 39 (estimation < 100 occupied trees in total), = 200 functional individuals (an assumed long lived heart rotter). A directed search on 50 sites in Turkey with apparent suitable trees only yielded 11 occupied trees (Dogan pers. comm.) suggesting that the number of unknown sites is not very large.
A preliminary Evaluation indicates that the species at least meets the IUCN Red List criteria for category Near Threatened (NT)
The species occurs only in a small number of localities in five Mediterranean countries. It is a very rare species, known only from Morocco, Spain, Italy, Macedonia and Turkey. The original description of the species is based on specimen from Morocco, while the first European record is from Spain (province Guadalajara).
According to the present literature and personal communication with the authors this is a very rare species. There are 23 findings in Spain (Ávila, Cuenca, Guadalajara, Madrid, Salamanca, Soria, Teruel and Toledo provinces and one in Morocco - see MA-Fungi through http://18.104.22.168/herb/asp/). In Turkey (Asian part) it was collected on 11 localities (Dogan pers. comm.) and in Macedonia on two localities, both in Galichica national Park. Bernicchia (pers. comm.) reported this species from two localities in Italy (Sardinia), but during the last visits to those forests the species could not be found again.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Lenzitopsis oxycedri causes white rot in Juniperus spp. It is apparently restricted to Juniperus and known from J. oxycedrus and J. thurifera (Garcia-Manjon & Moreno, 1981). Bernicchia (2000, 2005) reported this species from Italy growing as a saprobe on J. oxycedrus. In Turkey it was collected on dry branches of J. foetidissima and J. excelsa (Doğan, pers. comm.). In Macedonia the specimens were also collected from J. foetidissima at two localities in the south-western part of the county – Galichica National Park. It is likely that L. oxycedri prefers J. foetidissima and J.excelsa as its main hosts in Eastern Mediterranean (Macedonia and Turkey).
Lenzitopsis oxycedri is associated with old growth juniper trees and reduced amount of habitat area and/or habitat quality is the main cause of the inferred decline and threat. The small population size make the species very susceptible for local extinction due to random events such as fires, tourism, destruction of habitats and other human activities.
Protection of known localities together with appropriate management plans are the main actions needed. The single locality in Macedonia is protected as a part of a National Park but the bulk of localities is without site/area protection. National Forest Services and other regional organizations should be informed about the need of conserving old juniper trees.
Mapping and monitoring of the species.
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2. Li-Wei Z. & Kõljalg U. 2013. A new species of Lenzitopsis (Thelephorales, Basidiomycota) and its phylogenetic placement. Mycoscience. Volume 54, Issue 1, Pages 87–92.
3. Doğan HH, Karadelev M, Işıloğlu M, Öztürk C. 2007. Lenzitopsis oxycedri Malençon & Bertault (Thelephoraceae, Basidiomycota), a very rare wood-decay fungus collected in Turkey. Turk. J. Bot. 31 (2007) 349-352.
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