• Proposed
  • Under Assessment
  • Preliminary Assessed
  • Assessed
  • ENPublished

Gastrolactarius camphoratus (Singer & A.H. Sm.) J.M. Vidal

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Scientific name
Gastrolactarius camphoratus
(Singer & A.H. Sm.) J.M. Vidal
Common names
IUCN Specialist Group
Cup-fungi, Truffles and Allies
Assessment status
IUCN Red List Category
EN A2c; C2a(i)
Proposed by
Michael Castellano
Michael Castellano
Comments etc.
Jean Berube

Assessment Notes

Taxonomic notes

Origanially described as Elasmomyces camphoratus by Singer and Smith (1960).  Pegler and Young (1979) transferred it to Arcangeliella based on spore characteristics.  Transferred to Gastrolactarius by Vidal (2004)

Why suggested for a Global Red List Assessment?

Easily recognized by its sequestrate habit, dark reddish-brown peridium,  a gleba that exudes latex, and the somewhat exposed loculate-lamellate gills near the base.  Upon drying specimens have a strong and distinct odor of maple syrup similar to Lactarius fragilis

Known from a total of 24 sites, 11 sites are concentrated within a small geographic distance in Currey County in southwest Oregon.  3 sites are historic and not redocumented for at least 30 years.  Major forest fire in 2002 has probably significantly impacted the Currey county sites.

Random Grid survey of 750 plots for two years across this region, including plots in this habitat type, revealed two new sites for this species in southwest Oregon.  Unfortunately these sites were subjected to the Biscuit forest fire and may be extirpiated.

VU A2c, A4c
11 of 24 (46%) known sites potentially extirpated by Biscuit forest fire

24 total known sites although only 10 sites are considered to be extant

10 extant sites x 2 mycelia per site = 20 mature individuals on extant sites

24 extant sites x 2 mycelia per site = 48 potential mature individuals based on extant sites

Geographic range

Known from Canada and USA in Washington and Oregon.

In Canada from southern British Columbia in the coast mountains physiographic province, east of Vancouver.

In Washington from the Olympic Peninsula Physiographic province, east of Forks, WA.

In Oregon from both the Oregon coast and Oregon Klamath physiographic provinces along the central coast and south coast of Oregon.

Population and Trends

24 known sites from British Columbia, Canada south to southeast coast of Oregon.

One location is from southern BC, two sites(one location) from the Olympic Peninsula, 20 sites (1 location) from southwest Oregon coastal forests, 1 site inland in Benton County, Oregon.

11 of 24 (46%) known sites potentially extirpated by Biscuit forest fire.

2 other known sites not recollected in over 30 years even though specifically searched for numerous times since first recorded.

Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology

Hypogeous, mycorrhizal, sequestrate species associated with the roots of Tsuga heterophylla and possibly Picea sitchensis from sea level to 3039 ft (1013 m) elevation.  Dependent on mycophagy (eaten by small mammals) for spore dispersal.  Fruiting January through March, June, and September through November.


This is a mycorrhizal fungus species so it is dependent on living host trees for population viability.  This mutually beneficial symbiotic association between fungus and plant host roots conveys numerous critical advantages for plant host survival.  Mycorrhizal fungi are essentially the uptake organs for many nutrients i.e., nitrogen, phosphorus, numerous micronutrients, i.e., boron, selenium, copper, and plays a major role in uptake of water.  Both the fungus and the plant host does not exist in nature without each other.

Mature old-growth Tsuga heterophylla and Picea sitchensis forests are routinely harvested for wood products that has led to some forest fragmentation that may impede fungus dispersal and gene flow.  In addition, these coastal mountain forests are subject to logging, clearing of land for agricultural use, intense forest fires, and disturbance from human activities, i.e., road building, home construction, and campground development.  Global climate change is potentially devastating to low elevation coastal forests in western North America.

The Biscuit forest fire of 2002 may have negatively impacted known sites along the southeast coast of Oregon (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biscuit_Fire).  This fire burned over 2,000 km2, almost 197,000 ha in northern California and southeast Oregon across as many as 11 known sites for this species on the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest have been potentially negatively impacted.

This species has highly isolated occurrences in southwestern British Columbia, western Washington, and southwestern Oregon with little potential for gene flow between them.  Extensive logging has removed most of the mature to old-growth coastal forests in Oregon and Washington thereby removing potential habitat for this species.  Intensive recreational use of of forested public lands along the Oregon and Washington coasts may also have an impact on species viability due to trampling, soil compaction, and other types of human disturbance.

Conservation Actions

Protect known sites.  Buffer known sites from ground and host disturbances. Revisit known sites to confirm persistence and determine extent of populations, particularly for known sites more than 30 years old.  Mitigate impacts during vegetation management in or near known sites.

Research needed

Use molecular tools to examine other potential hosts, i.e., Picea sitchensis and Pseudotsuga menziesii that occur in similar habitat.

Purposive surveys in potential habitat to discover additional occupied sites.  Use molecular tools to visit known sites to evaluate population size and structure.

Use and Trade


Singer, R., and Smith, A.H. 1960. Studies on secotiaceous fungi. IX. the astrogastraceous series. Mem. Torrey Bot. Club 21:1-112.

Pegler, D.N., and Young, T.W.K. 1979. The gastroid Russulales. Trans. Brit. Mycol. Soc. 72:353-388.

Thiers, H.D. 1984. The genus Arcangeliella Cav. in western United States.  Sydowia 37:296-308.

Arora, D. 1986. Mushrooms Demystified - A comprehensive guide to fleshy fungi. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. 959 p.

Castellano, M.A., Smith, J.E., O’Dell, T., Cazáres, E., and Nugent, S. 1999. Handbook to strategy 1 fungal species in the Northwest Forest Plan. PNW-GTR-476. Portland, OR. 195 p.

Trappe, M., Evans, F., and Trappe, J. 2007. Field guide to North American truffles: Hunting, identifying and enjoying the world’s most prized fungi. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA. 136 p.

Cushman, K., and Huff, R. 2007. Conservation assessment for fungi included in Forest Service Regions 5 and 6 Sensitive and BLM California, Oregon and Washington special status species programs. R6 USFS and OR/WA BLM Interagency Special Status/Sensitive Species Program (ISSSSP). Appendix 1. http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/sfpnw/issssp/planning-documents/assessments.shtml

Interagency Special Status / Sensitive Species Program (ISSSSP) Conservation Planning Documents - Fungal Species Fact Sheets- available at: http://www.fs.fed.us/r6/sfpnw/issssp/planning-documents/species-guides.shtml  accessed on April 23-2015

Known distribution - countries

Regional Population and Trends

Country Trend Redlisted