Hygrocybe boothii A.M.Young
Hygrocybe boothii is a small bright red fungus with a convex cap and decurrent orange, pink or reddish gills. It usually occurs in clumps. It is distinguished from other red hygrocybes by its densely squamose cap.
Hygrocybe boothii is a distinctive species, easy to identify in the field. Distribution is limited to a very small forest area undergoing rapid change. These forests have been exploited for timber and have from time to time been grazed by farm and feral animals, both of which can damage the habitat of Hygrocybe species.
Australia. Kooloomboola National Park in the Atherton Tablelands of North Queensland only.
Uncertain. This fungus was collected at four locations in the autumn of 2001 and 2002. There have been substantial increases in the sightings and collections of Hygrocybe species following the publication of Dr Young’s monograph on the genus in 2005, but that has not been the case for H. boothii where only a single further record was made.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Only occurs in areas of damp woodland in open forest on nutrient poor soils. This species was thought to be mycorrhizal but the biology of other species in this genus is known to be complex and is not yet well understood. It is thought that many Hygrocybes are biotrophic and may be associated with mosses (e.g. Halbwachs 2013).
The Mount Baldy National Park was a Forest Reserve until 2010 and was commercially exploited for timber. The forest and the National Park were also subject to grazing and disturbance by farm animals and continue to be disturbed by feral animals, particularly wild pigs. As part of the management plan there are controlled burns undertaken on a rotational basis. Although this species is probably associated with damp hollows which the management plan seeks to exclude from the fire regime, it is not clear that this has been a successful policy. All these factors are known to affect the survival of Hygrocybe species in other localities. Extensive land clearance and severe drought in Queensland pose more general threats to this species.
None at present, this fungus is classified as ‘least concern’ under Queensland legislation. The sites where these fungi occur were designated as a National Park in 2010 but there is no specific conservation policies for fungi in the Park’s management plan.
Work is needed to clarify the biology of this fungus including its fruiting patterns and habitat requirements.
A.M.Young (2005) Fungi of Australia: Hygrophoraceae. ABRS, Canberra; CSIRO Publishing, Melbourne.
Dahlberg A. and Mueller G.M. (2011) Applying IUCN red-listing criteria for assessing and reporting on the conservation status of fungal species. Fungal Ecology 4: 147-162.
Department of National Parks (2013) Koombooloma National Park Management Statement 2013
Halbwachs H., Karasch P. and Griffith G.W. (2013) The diverse habitats of Hygrocybe - peeking into an enigmatic lifestyle. Mycoshpere 4 (4), pps 773-792.
McMullan-Fisher J.M., May T.W., Bell T.L., Lebel T, Catcheside, P and York A. (2011). Fungi and Fire in Australian ecosystems: a review of current knowledge, management implications and research gaps and solutions. Australian Journal of Botany 59 (1) 70-90.
Robinson R.M. and Tunsell V.L. (2007). A list of macrofungi recorded in burnt and unburntEucalyptus diversicolorregrowth forest in the southwest of Western Australia: 1998-2002. Conservation Science Western Australia 6 (1) 75 – 96.