• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • NTAssessed
  • 5Published

Cortinarius ionochlorus Maire

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Scientific name
Cortinarius ionochlorus
Common names
Cortinario violeta y verde
Violettblättriger klumpfuss
Cortinaire vert et violet
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Category
NT A2c+A3c+A4c
Proposed by
Susana C. Gonçalves
Susana C. Gonçalves
A. Martyn Ainsworth
Comments etc.
Anders Dahlberg, Irmgard Krisai-Greilhuber, José Miguel Pereira, Claudia Perini

Assessment Notes

R-L categories correct, but text here does not match final assessment. Updated version will be published in IUCN´s Red List June or Nov 2019.


Cortinarius ionochlorus is an ectomycorrhizal species associated with trees in the Fagaceae, typically evergreen oaks in the Mediterranean basin. The conservation status of its most common habitat is reported as “unfavourable-inadequate”. Major threats relate to continuous habitat reduction and modification of management regime. Assessed as Near Threatened under criteria A2c+A3c, because of past and future estimated habitat decline ca. 20 % in a 50-year period and under criteria C2a(i); the total number of mature individuals is estimated to be less than 20 000.

Taxonomic notes

Synonym: Cortinarius atrovirens subsp. ionochlorus

It has been suggested, based on limited molecular evidence, that the names Cortinarius ionochlorus and Cortinarius atrovirens may refer to the same taxon (Garnica et al. 2005, 2009, Tor Erik Brandrud, personal communication). However further DNA analysis is required to investigate this fully. For this assessment, the two are retained as separate species on morphological and ecological grounds.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

A distinctive agaric, with an olive-green cap, yellow-green stipe with a cortina, lilac lamellae and a smell of black pepper. Known from only eight countries in Europe and one country in Africa (Morocco), it is mainly confined to species-rich natural and semi-natural Quercus woodlands on basic soil. It is threatened by continuous habitat reduction and fragmentation, forestry intensification and nitrogen deposition.

Geographic range

Cortinarius ionochlorus has so far only been reported from eight countries in Europe (Portugal, Spain, Belgium, France, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Croatia) and one country in Africa (Morocco); it is mostly present in south-western Europe, especially in the Mediterranean domain.

Population and Trends

Uncommon and declining due to threatened habitat.

The mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy towards to 2020 (European Commission, 2015) indicates a “decrease in habitat change” in woodland ecosystems as the future trend, but also specifies that the vast majority of assessments of conservation status for woodlands remains “unfavourable” (80 %). The majority of the assessments of conservation status for woodland
 and forest species from the Habitats Directive
 are “unfavourable”, with 44% assessed as “unfavourable-inadequate” and 16% assessed as “unfavourable-bad”. As for the trends in conservation status of (target) species, nearly a quarter of the assessments are assessed as “unfavourable-stable” (22%), while only 6% are assessed as “unfavourable-improving”; a significant amount of the remaining assessments (17%) are assessed as “unfavourable-declining” (European Environmental Agency, 2015).

Mediterranean forests dominated by the holm oak (Q. ilex and Q. rotundifolia- also referred to as Q. ilex subsp. ballota) are the most common habitat of the species. These forests have been strongly influenced by human activities during the last millennia by means of wood exploitation, species mixture modifications or substitution, livestock grazing and fires. All these disturbances have led to a degradation and, in many cases, holm oak forests have been completely replaced by agriculture and urban settlements (de Rigo & Caudullo, 2016). C. ionochlorus thus often occurs only in small remnants. The mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy towards to 2020 (European Commission, 2015) assessed the conservation status of these woodlands as “unfavourable-inadequate”. In Central Europe, the species associates with Fagus woodlands on non-acid soils, classified as near threatened in the Red List of European Habitats (Janssen et al. 2017).

Rarely recorded; by 2015, the number of known sites was reported to be around 180 (Fraiture & Otto, 2015).
GBIF - 47 records under Cortinarius ionochlorus (Spain, 35; France, 4; Italy, 3; Morocco, 3; Czech Republic, 1; Germany, 1), all from before 2014.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Cortinarius ionochlorus is typically found in species-rich natural and semi-natural woodlands on calcareous soils. It is ectomycorrhizal with broad-leaved trees in the Fagaceae, usually evergreen oaks (notably the holm oak), more rarely deciduous oaks (e.g. Q. faginea) and beech (Fagus).

Typical habitats include different Quercus-dominated woodlands in the Mediterranean region and F. sylvatica woodlands in central Europe.

The species occurs in the following NATURA 2000 forest habitats:
6310 - Dehesas with evergreen Quercus spp.
9130 - Asperulo-Fagetum beech forests
9150 - Medio-European limestone beech forest of the Cephalanthero-Fagion
91H0 - Pannonian woods with Quercus pubescens
9340 - Quercus ilex and Q. rotundifolia forests; the most frequent habitat

Temperate ForestMediterranean-type Shrubby Vegetation


In Mediterranean habitats, where the species mainly occurs, major threats relate to continuous habitat reduction by forest clearance, fragmentation and loss of habitat connectivity, and modification of semi-natural woodlands management regimes, e.g. overgrazing by sheep and goats. Climate change is also becoming a more and more important threat with increased devastating wildfires and pervasive drought stress- under water stress conditions evergreen oaks, like Q. ilex, are highly vulnerable to pathogens like Phytophthora spp. (e.g. P. cinnamomi) and Cryphonectria parasitica that may affect holm oak as a synergistic negative combination with abiotic factors. Outside the Mediterranean area, airborne nitrogen deposition is a major threat to naturally nutrient-poor woodlands.

Residential & commercial developmentShifting agricultureSmall-holder farmingRoads & railroadsIncrease in fire frequency/intensitySuppression in fire frequency/intensityNamed speciesNutrient loadsHabitat shifting & alterationDroughtsTemperature extremes

Conservation Actions

In Quercus-dominated woodlands in the Mediterranean region (the most common habitat), conservation actions include establishing protected areas, but also putting into practice appropriate woodland management plans, including e.g. management of grazing and fire regimes. Woodland management plans can play a role in increasing the conservation status of the species even if sites are within the Natura 2000 network. Restoring habitats often takes many years, especially for woodlands/forests so it’s not a practical measure. Also, note that protected well-managed areas cannot address pressures such as climate change.
For the roughly about half localities estimated to be outside protected areas (European Environmental Agency, 2007-2012), securing adequate funding for biodiversity-favourable measures remains a challenge. Improving EU-level information on forest status will allow a more precise assessment of the situation and the design of appropriate policy responses.

Research needed

A barcode sequence from a German Cortinarius ionochlorus specimen matched (100 & identical) to one generated from a similarly sourced Cortinarius atrovirens specimen suggesting the specimens may be conspecific (Garnica et al. 2005, 2009,Tor Erik Brandrud, personal communication). However, these sequences were not compared with any obtained from type specimens and such reference sequences do not seem to be currently available (K. Liimatainen, pers. comm.). Therefore there is no compelling evidence to synonymise the species at this time. Sequence data are required from further collections to clarify the phylogenetic and taxonomic relationships. Typification is also required to provide unequivocal reference sequences for comparative studies.


Use and Trade


de Rigo D. & Caudullo G. 2016. Quercus ilex in Europe: distribution, habitat, usage and threats. In: San-Miguel-Ayanz J., de Rigo D., Caudullo G., Houston Durrant T. & Mauri A. (eds). European Atlas of Forest Tree Species. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. DOI: doi:10.2788/038466

European Commission. 2015. The mid-term review of the EU biodiversity strategy to 2020. Report from the Commission to the European parliament and the Council. Brussels. (summary at http://ec.europa.eu/environment/nature/biodiversity/comm2006/pdf/mid_term_review_summary.pdf)

European Environmental Agency. 2007-2012. 9340-Quercus ilex and Quercus rotundifolia forests. Report under the Article 17 of the Habitats Directive European Environment Period 2007-2012. Accessed in February 2018 at http://art17.eionet.europa.eu

Fraiture A. & Otto P. (eds) 2015. Distribution, ecology and status of 51 macromycetes in Europe. Results of the ECCF Mapping Programme. Scripta Botanica Belgica 53, Botanic Garden Meise.

Garnica S., Weiß M., Oertel B., Ammirati J. & Oberwinkler F. 2009. Phylogenetic relationships in Cortinarius, section Calochroi, inferred from nuclear DNA sequences. BMC Evolutionary Biology 9:1. DOI: 10.1186/1471-2148-9-1

Garnica S., Weiß M., Oertel B. & Oberwinkler F.  2003. Phylogenetic Relationships of European Phlegmacium Species (Cortinarius, Agaricales). Mycologia 95: 1155-1170. DOI: 10.2307/3761917

GBIF website at https://www.gbif.org/ Accessed 15 February 2018.

Janssen J.A.M., Rodwell J.S., García Criado M., Gubbay S., Haynes T., Nieto A., Sanders N., Landucci F., Loidi J., Ssymank A., Tahvanainen T., Valderrabano M., Acosta A., Aronsson M., Arts G., Attorre F., Bergmeier E., Bijlsma R.-J., Bioret F., Biţă-Nicolae C., Biurrun I., Calix M., Capelo J., Čarni A., Chytrý M., Dengler J., Dimopoulos P, Essl F., Gardell H., Gigante D., Giusso del Galdo G., Hájek M., Jansen F., Jansen J., Kapfer J., Mickolajczak A., Molina J.A., Molnár Z., Paternoster D., Piernik A., Poulin B., Renaux B., Schaminée J.H.J., Šumberová K., Toivonen H., Tonteri T., Tsiripidis I., Tzonev R. & Valachovič M. 2017. European Red List of Habitats. Luxembourg: Publications Office of the European Union. DOI: 10.2779/091372

Tkalčec Z., Mešić A. & Matočec N. 2008. The Red List of Plants and Animals of the Republic of Croatia. Assessed in January 2018

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted