Lignosus rhinocerotis has been considered as the only Asian species of this genus (Ryvarden and Johansen 1980), but it actually represents a species complex, and recently some additional species were described from tropical China and Malaysia (Cui et al. 2011; Tan et al. 2013). It is desirable to make detailed studies on distribution and ecology of each accepted species.
This species is widely distributed in tropical areas of Southeast Asia and Australasia, but rare in most localities. It is a terrestrial polypore usually grows on a sclerotium, and likely occurs on sandy ground along natural streams in lowland to middle hill forests of Southeast Asia. Many of the natural streams are destroyed by constructions of dams and artificial waterways in these areas. It is also widely known as a medicinal fungi in Malaysia and surrounding areas, and local people frequently collect this fungus. Sclerotia are also collected, so whole mycelia are removed in case of collection.
For the time being, it is most possibly a DD species, but an important target to monitor in the Southeast Asia.
Lignosus rhinocerotis s.l. has been recorded from various tropical and subtropical areas of Southeast Asia and Australasia including Malaysia, Indonesia, Thailand, the Philippines, China, Japan, Sri Lanka, and Australia.
As it is distributed mainly in deep tropical rain forests, few detailed information about population trends is available from most countries, but rare in many countries. In Malaysia, local people collect this fungus intensively, which may induce decline of this fungus. Many of the fruiting bodies sold in the markets are immature, and whole mycelia including the sclerotia are likely pillaged before their maturity.
Lowland rain forests have been seriously declined most of its distribution countries.
Population Trend: Uncertain
This is a wood rotting fungi causing a white rot. It sometimes fruit on decayed trees, but usually occur on buried sclerotia, possibly accosted with buried woody materials or wood nearby the sclerotia. In Japan, it has been collected on sandy ground near natural streams and river plain.
Deforestation of lowland rain forest, dam construction and artificial river wall are primary threats for this fungus. Over harvest can be a threat for this fungus in Malaysia and surrounding countries. Sclerotia as well as fruiting bodies are collected in young condition before sporulation, which may induce serious population reduction.
Conservation of natural streams and surrounding forests is the primary action. It is also desirable to control over harvest and destruction of the habitat during harvest. Circulation of the cultivated fungus might reduce the amount of harvesting of natural fruiting bodies and sclerotia.
Taxonomical studies are desirable to differentiate habitat, ecology and distribution of this fungus and its allies. Distribution of the recently described species are still not well investigated. Changes of distribution amount in markets by year and locality may help to know fluctuation and detailed distribution of this fungus.
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