• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • LCPreliminary Assessed
  • 4Assessed
  • 5Published

Omphalotus nidiformis (Berk.) O.K. Mill.

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Scientific name
Omphalotus nidiformis
(Berk.) O.K. Mill.
Common names
Ghost Fungus
IUCN Specialist Group
Mushroom, Bracket and Puffball
Assessment status
Preliminary Assessed
Preliminary Category
Proposed by
Jasmin Packer
Comments etc.
Tom May, Jasmin Packer

Assessment Notes

The very wide distribution, with numerous known sites, coupled with survival in urban remnants and the ability to grow on exotic hosts, means that the species is assessed as Least Concern.

Taxonomic notes

Omphalotus nidiformis is a long-known species, that has been described under at least 13 synonym names since 1844, including Pleurotus phosphorus, but has a stable taxonomy and no issues around species delimitation.

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

This iconic species is endemic to Australia and highly valued for its “magnificent” beauty and bioluminescence (Berkley 1844, Atlas of Living Australia 2019).

This species is proposed as an example of a distinctive, well-known and common species, without high decline or particular threats, that can serve as one of Australia’s benchmarks for a Least Concern assessment.

Geographic range

Endemic to Australia. Occurs in south-west Western Australia, and in eastern Australia, from the Eyre Peninsula and Kangaroo Island in South Australia to northern Queensland, and in Tasmania (Grgurinovic 1997; Grey 2005; Atlas of Living Australia 2019). Two records from far inland at Little Sandy Desert (WA) and Finke (NT) (Atlas of Living Australia 2019) need to be confirmed as they are far outside the rest of the distribution range, bu geography and by climate. Nevertheless the species has a very extensive distribution.

Population and Trends

Omphalotus nidiformis has been one of the target species of the Fungimap scheme since the 1990s. It is one of the most commonly recorded Fungimap target species. There are more than 1,900 records (herbarium and sight records) compiled in the Atlas of Living Australia, with 16.5% of these reported since 2017 (Atlas of Living Australia 2019).

At a regional scale, it was recorded in 25% of eight surveys across three conservation reserves in the South Australian Murray Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board (Adelaide Fungal Studies Group 2013–2017).

Within the range, it is common in areas that are intensively recorded, but there are also numerous sites where it would be expected that do not have records (of this or other Fungimap target species). The high number of individuals, spread over a very large geographic area (high EOO and AOO), in a variety of types of woodland and forest, along with no specific threats apart from the background level of habitat loss, means that this species is likely to be assessed as Least Concern.

Population Trend: Uncertain

Habitat and Ecology

Widespread in forests and woodlands, extending to dryland locations such as eucalypt woodland in Monarto Conservation Park (west of Murray Bridge, SA). Native habitat is vegetation communities dominated by a wide range of Eucalyptus species.
Persists in small peri-urban remnants, such as Mark Oliphant Conservation Park in the Mount Lofty Ranges of outer Adelaide and Panton Hill, outer Melbourne (Atlas of Living Australia 2019).

Saprotroph, grows in compact clusters at the base of living or dead Eucalyptus and Pinus trunks, or on fallen logs of these host species. It has extended its host range to include introduced Pinus sp., including within pine plantations in the Mount Gambier region. It is therefore considered to have a wide host range, and the ability to adapt to new hosts, among tree partners.

It can cause white rot in trees, and may promote the formation of hollows used as habitat by hollow-dependent taxa (SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board 2018).

Temperate Forest


Habitat loss is the main threat. Over the whole range there is continued slow reduction in the extent and condition of forest and woodland.

Habitat shifting & alteration

Conservation Actions

Research needed

Continue monitoring to add to baseline data for this common species

Use and Trade


Atlas of Living Australia, 2019, Omphalotus nidiformis, accessed 20 July 2019, https://bie.ala.org.au/species/880abd7a-b60f-44b6-8c08-ea72f832d2e0#overview

Grey, P.M. and Grey, E.J., 2005. Fungi Down Under: The Fungimap Guide to Australian Fungi/Pat Grey & Ed Grey. Fungimap.

Grgurinovic, C.A., 1998. Larger fungi of South Australia. Botanic Gardens of Adelaide and State Herbarium.

SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, 2018, Find our Fungi! Discovering fungi of the South Australian Murray-Darling Basin through citizen science. SA Murray-Darling Basin Natural Resources Management Board, Government of South Australia.

Country occurrence

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted