Review of preliminary assessment needs to focus on the inference of distribution and population.
Since the relatively recent description of Cantharellus alborufescens, there have been limited records of occurrence. With a lack of such data it is difficult to assess the status of its population or distribution.
However, it is possible to make a series of assumptions about its potential range and habitat extent that indicate it has quite a widespread population across the Mediterranean region. Key species that make up its habitat have also been assessed as Least Concern, and based on these factors, it is tentatively assumed that C. alborufescens may be of Least Concern.
Described by Malençon as Cantharellus cibarius var. alborufescens in 1975 and as C. alborufescens by Papetti & S. Alberti in 1999.
Index Fungorum also lists Cantharellus ilicis as a synonym of C. alborufescens.
A recent multigene phylogenetic study that tested samples of C. alborufescens from Italy, Spain, France and the type from Morocco found they were correctly attributed to C. alborufescens, and were distinct from Cantharellus cibarius (Olariaga et al, 2017). This study also suggested that C. henrici, C. ilicis, and C. lilacinopruinatus should be considered synonyms of C. alborufescens.
Note that GBIF currently lists C. alborufescens as a synonym of C. cibarius. Only occurrence data listed under the name of C. alborufescens is taken into account for this preliminary assessment.
Chanterelle species to be assessed as part of the chanterelle comprehensive project.
C. alborufescens was described from Morocco and subsequent records available via GBIF come from Spain, Italy and France. An additional ‘Research-grade’ tagged record from Algeria is available on iNaturalist, and recent papers have identified and examined the habitat of C. alborufescens in Iran (Parad et al, 2018; Parad et al, 2020).
Range extent is therefore uncertain but Olariaga et al (2017) describe it as widespread across Mediterranean Europe and it can be inferred to occur across suitable habitat in North Africa, and east of the Mediterranean extending to Iran.
The KML polygon file attached is a minimum inferred range of C. alborufescens based on existing occurrence data, Quercus ilex and other Quercus species extent across the Mediterranean and North African area - extending to the Northern forests of Iran, with an estimated area of 4,779,045 km2 (including sea cover). This range assumes a distribution for C. alborufescens that coincides with key Mediterranean oak species. Global Forest Watch’s mapping data suggests forest and shrubland is occurs across the whole area with agricultural land widely interspersed in this inferred range.
There is a lack of existing georeferenced occurrence data, but the existence of similar Cantharellus species across the range suggests some observations of C. alborufescens could have been wrongly identified as other species.
C. alborufescens was relatively recently described and therefore there are few spatio-temporal records to base population size and trends over time upon. Olariaga et al (2017) stated that there has been historical confusion over C. alborufescens and that it has seldom been treated under its correct name.
The lack of observation data means that estimating the likely number of unrecorded localities, or functional individuals per locality is highly uncertain. However, using Quercus ilex to indicate habitat and a series of broad assumptions based on the information available is it possible to make a population estimate. These assumptions should be examined in reviewing this species.
- Extent of Q. ilex across Morocco, Spain, France, Italy and Algeria are taken from the IUCN assessment and total approximately 57,152 km2.
- The only available georeferenced occurrence records made in the same year are approximately 10km apart, so within suitable habitat the assumption is that sites occur across approximately 10km apart.
- Each site represents 2 functional individuals, or 20 mature individuals.
- The 57,152 km2 of Q. ilex habitat represents approximately 69,154 sites, considering the number of functional individuals are constant across appropriate habitat.
Estimated No. localities (69,154) x Estimated No. functional individuals per locality (2) x Estimated number of mature individuals per functional individual (10) = Population estimate of 1,383,080.
Population trend is uncertain, due to the lack of temporal occurrence data for this species. In addition, Q. ilex, a species thought to be part of its key habitat has been assessed as Least Concern.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Habitat information gleaned from papers and records as unable to access type description.
All specimens, bar one, of C. alborufescens were associated with Mediterranean evergreen oaks (Quercus ilex, Q. pubescens, Q. cerris) and calcareous ground in a recent study (Olariaga et al, 2017), the remaining specimen grew under Castanea sativa. Several Spanish records available on GBIF are also associated with Q. suber and Q. coccifera.
A recent examination of the habitat of C. alborufescens in Iran found their presence in oak-hornbeam stands with clay-loam soils of a neutral to slightly acidic pH (Parad et al, 2020).
No major threats identified.
Quercus ilex and other Mediterranean oak species (Q. cerris and Q. pubescens) which are thought to characterise the habitat of C. alborufescens, have been assessed as Least Concern. These tree species do face localised threats including development, conversion to agriculture and fire, as well as drought as a consequence of climate change. Threats to this habitat could impact on C. alborufescens but work is required to identify the extent of such threats.
Confirmation of taxonomic status and an evaluation of its distribution, population, habitat and ecology is required to better assess this species.
Identifying whether occurrence records of C. alborufescens have been wrongly attributed to other species, and how widespread the species is across the inferred habitat would help address the initial assumptions made in this assessment.
The Extremadura Mycological Society in Spain lists C. alborufescens as edible.
A recent paper in Iran suggested this species is an important edible mushroom economically for local residents of the Northern Iranian forests in which it has been identified (Parad et al, 2020).