The scattered, infrequent records of this species as well as the (probably) more confined region of occurrence (i.e. north-central to northeast temperate North America) suggest that this species is regionally rare enough to warrant a “Data Deficient” designation.
Hygrophorus peckianus Howe 1874
Camarophyllus peckianus (Howe) Murr. 1916
Hygrotrama peckianus (Howe) Sing. 1973
Currently being proposed as Hodophilus peckianus by Birkebak.
It is close to C. hymenocephalus but has lighter, whitish-gray gills and a very strong, unmistakable odor. Recent micro-morphological work suggests that the northern collections are a different species, which further limits the number of collections to eight, including the type.
Camarophyllopsis peckiana is a rare mushroom is associated with forested hardwood swamps. It is a small, odiferous waxy-cap type mushroom that occurs in somewhat enriched, moist soils under hardwoods. Although there are few collections (12), they are very widely scattered. The habitat is subjected to disturbance (e.g. windthrow). The assessment of this species is based on its rarity and continuing wetland habitat loss.
Collections from NC, TN, MI, MA, NY in the United States, and from Nova Scotia in Canada; also observed in NH (2010). Recent research into the southern collections (NC, TN) suggest that the northern collections are a different species.
The overall population size for this species is estimated to be between 10,000 - 20,000 fruiting individuals based on an estimate of 10 mature individuals per collection site and 1,000 - 2,000 possible sites among the northern, likely distinct sub-populations.
The type collection was found under “Pteris” at Lake Pleasant in the Adirondack Mountains of NY (1874). The second collection was made by Davis in Stow, MA (1906), followed by two collections made by Murrill in NC (1916); then by Beardslee in FL in 1937; Smith and Mains in MI (2 collections, 1939), and from K.A. Harrison in Nova Scotia in 1951 and 1953 ; each collection of just a few individuals; probable number of individuals at each site < 10; habitat associations generally moist hardwoods sites in soil (i.e. not particularly rare or unusual).
Based on the observed habitat and limited habitat records, its association with hardwood swamps suggests that the population is likely declining along with the decline in freshwater wetlands in North America (Dahl 2011). Over 50% of freshwater wetlands have been lost since colonization, with the latest report for 2005-2009 indicating an annual loss rate of about 3000 ha of forested wetland per year (Dahl 2011)
This species has been recorded as being found gregariously or subcespitosely in soil under Pteridium (Pteris), “in rocky soil by path,” in “lawn,” and in deciduous or mixed woods and swamps. The single, unvouchered collection in NH (Keene) came from edge of a hardwood swamp in 2010 in fairly high pH soil at the edge of an old wind-throw mound near goldthread (Coptis trifolia) and red maple (Acer rubra). This site has been intensively surveyed for mushrooms since 1985 yet no other known records exist. There are also no other known records from NH, nor from any of the 40 annual Northeast Mycological Forays in the US of the annual forays by the Cercle des Mycologues de Montreal.
Although this species is likely under-collected, the sparsity of records may also relate to the decline in freshwater wetlands across the United States and Canada. The latter has taken place at the hands of residential and commercial development, conversion to agriculture, and filling and dredging for roads. This also includes impacts to wetland buffers that remove vegetation, increase surface water run-off, and promotes degradation of surface waters. All of these activities would impact the ability of this species to occur or re-occur in suitable sites across the geographic range.
Current wetland protection laws in the United States has slowed the loss of wetlands since the early 1970’s. This has been particularly true for the past two decades after the passage of the “No Net Loss” policy by the federal regulatory agencies. This is not the same case in Canada, where very little oversight is given to protecting wetlands on a nationwide basis. Sufficient land protection of known observation sites that exist or are added in the future would help ensure the continuation of the species.
Exact distributional limits are unknown and need to be further documented. The taxonomic status of this species is currently under review, wherein it is being considered as being renamed as a new genus. A recent p.c. from Joshua Birkebak was as follows: “Hodophilus peckianus in press in Botany. Type didn’t sequence but was definitely distinct from any of the other foetens grp we collected in NA. We do have good morphology for it though and are just waiting to find it again. None of the historical collections we examine from NC or TN were actually this species so it may be restricted to the northeast.”
Dahl, T.E. 2011. Status and trends of wetlands in the conterminous United States 2004 to 2009. U.S. Department of the Interior; Fish and Wildlife Service, Washington, D.C. 108 pp.