This species was described from material collected in oak forest in Talamanca Mountains in Costa Rica (Province of San José) (Mata & Petersen, 2001). This species is distinguished from other taxa by its elongate,cylindrical basidiospores.This species is similar to Lentinula boryana in its morphology, and shared habitat and distribution. From Lentinula edodes it is genetically distant (Mata & Petersen, 2000).
This species has cultural importance for the people who lives close the oak forest in Colombia, specially Boyaca where is used like a food. New trends in food consumption in Colombia could threaten this species and the culture derived from it.
The specie apparently are distributed throughout tropical and subtropical America except for the Mexican gulf and United States.
Lentinula aciculospora is known from Quercus forest in Costa Rica, Panamá, Nicaragua, Ecuador and Colombia. In Costa Rica this species is known from the type locality in the San José province (Mata & Petersen, 2001). Panamanian material were collected in the west of the country in forests of Chiriquí province (Piepenbring, 2009). In the Caribbean side of Nicaragua, the species was reported in the Indio Maíz Biological Reserve (Saldívar, 2017). In Southern Ecuador are presented as edible, used by Saraguro indigenous people (Andrade et al. 2012). In Colombia, L. aciculospora is associated with the endemic oak Quercus humboldtii. It have been registered from Boyacá, Cundinamarca, Huila and Santander departments.
There is no direct information that the population has declined, but a significant decline is inferred due to extensive past and ongoing habitat loss and decline in habitat quality. While broadly distributed, Quercus dominated forests are under threat throughout much of their range due to land use changes, including timber harvest, conversion to pine and other non-native tree plantations, agriculture, and expansion of towns and cities. Further pressure and population reductions are expected to continue. Additionally, there is evidence of replacement of native mycorrhizal fungi on the roots of Quercus by exotic species, including Amanita muscaria, that were introduced with pines (Vargas et al. 2019). There has been a nearly 42% loss of Quercus humboldtii populations in Colombia, and the tree is listed as vulnerable (VU A2cd) there (Cardenas & Salinas 2007). It is listed as LC globally (Gallagher 2018). Deforestation in Colombia has increased in recent years and is anticipated to continue into the future. Based on data from the Global Forest Watch Report (2020) there was forest loss of 18% for Nicaragua in the years 2001-2018. There is less data available to predict the decline of the species in Costa Rica. Parts of the Talamancas are protected in National parks, but other areas are privately held, and there is limited logging ongoing as well as commercial and housing developments. For the mountain areas were this species occurs, the total forest cover has not significantly changed in the last 20 years (MINAE 2018). As is a saprofitic fungi and is associated to Quercus forest could impacted by a decline in its hosts. Due to past significant loss of its hosts and projected continued loss, the estimated past and future decline for the population of name of Lentinula aciculospora is projected to be between 30-35%.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Lentinula genus is lignicolous fungi which cause white rot in broad-leaved trees, especially in Fagaceas (Mata & Petersen, 2001); Lentinula aciculospora is found in Quercus forest growing in narrow branches between 2.150 to 2.880 m.a.s.l.
In Colombian oak forests habitat degradation is mainly due to changes in land use for livestock, in previous years the extraction of wood for charcoal production and housing construction (Cárdenas y Salinas 2007, Nieto y Rodríguez 2010). There has been almost a 42% loss of Quercus humboldtii populations, the tree is classified as vulnerable according to (VU A2cd) in Colombia (Cárdenas and Salinas, 2007). The habitat of Lentinula aciculospora forward to decline because the Quercus humboltii forest is threatened.
In Colombia, the oak Q. humboldtii is distributed in the three main branches into which the Cordillera de los Andes is divided (central, western and eastern), covering 18 departments, between 750 and 3,200 m of altitude, with only 13% below the figure of protected areas (Peña-Cañón & Henao, 2014). Thus, the preservation and management of protected areas must be done more rigorously and a greater conservation of forests can occur by highlighting the cultural importance of edible wild fungus species associated with these ecosystems dominated by the hosts of the species.
Studies to determine the distribution of this species and its trends populations are required, as well as ethnomicological research to assess the cultural importance of the species among local experts and rural communities in the countries. In addition, the performance of molecular analyzes to determine phylogenetic inferences of the species and contribute to the knowledge and expansion of its subtropical distribution range.
Lentinula aciculispora is an edible mushroom with cultural significance among Colombian farmers with Muisca ancestors in the Boyacá mountains. This mushroom as part of the daily diet of the community in the rainy season. In Panama, this species is recommended for culinary or medicinal uses as it is very similar to Lentinula edodes, the Shii-take, which is a second edible and medicinal mushroom consumed in the world (Piepenbring, 2009).