Polyozellus marymargaretae was described from a Type collection made in Washington, USA (Voitk et al. 2017).
Before that, it has long been referred to as Polyozellus multiplex; a species complex of at least five distinct species (Voitk et al. 2017).
Polyozellus marymargaretae is an uncommon species of ‘Blue Chanterelle’ from old growth forests in the Pacific Northwest.
Long referred to by the name Polyozellus multiplex, which is now known to be a species complex of at least five distinct species; P. marymargaretae is currently known from four locations. However, being recently described, and difficult to distinguish from other Polyozellus species, it may be more common than records indicate. Although data to fully assess habitat preferences is lacking, it appears this species is restricted to mature and old growth forests.
Polyozellus marymargaretae is currently known from Oregon and Washington, USA (Voitk et al. 2017, MyCoPortal 2021).
Populations of Polyozellus marymargaretae are currently only known from ~five locations in the Cascade Range and Olympic mountains, in mature and old growths forests; a habitat in decline. However, data to assess overall population size and trends is lacking, in part due to all collections of Polyozellus being called P. multiplex pre-2017.
This species may be restricted to mature and old growth forests. Suitable habitat is now rare and fragmented, continuing to decline in both quality and geographic extent. The scarcity of remnant old growth and mature forests in the Cascade Range, and their fragmented condition are a major cause for concern; it is unknown if this species is capable of colonizing and persisting in younger forests.
Population Trend: Uncertain
Polyozellus marymargaretae is an ectomycorrhizal species, associated with conifers in mature and old growth forests of the Pacific Northwest mountains. Voitk et al. (2017) report “on soil in moss under old growth Abies grandis, Pseudostuga menziesii, and Picea engelmannii”. First fruiting from late summer or early fall; fruit bodies long lasting; typically persisting until deep freeze.
Polyozellus marymargaretae is an ectomycorrhizal fungus species dependent on living host trees for viability. The major threat to this species and its co-occurring co-generic brethren is habitat destruction, via the logging of old-growth forests to which it appears confined too. The extent of old growth forest in the Pacific Northwest of North America has declined 90% in the last century (Society of American Foresters 1984, Haynes 1986).
Fire is big threat to this species’ populations. A stand replacing fire could severely degrade and/or diminish its current range. Logging and machine clearing of understory vegetation should be limited in mature and old growth forest in areas where this species might occur.
This species (as Polyozellus multiplex) was included on the Northwest Forest Plan list of rare and/old growth forests dependent species, and has been actively surveyed fro since the late 1990’s (Castellano et al. 1999).
Habitat this species is found to occur in should be considered for protection from logging and large scale forest disturbance.
Continued surveys for existing populations. A better understanding of habitat restraints and requirements; ie. is it restricted to old growth forests.
Polyozellus species are edible, but not often highly regarded in North America. They are highly prized dye fungi, and are indiscriminately collected by fiber artist.
Castellano, M.A., Smith, J.E., O’Dell, T., Cázares, E. and Nugent, S. 1999. Handbook to Strategy 1 Fungal Species in the Northwest Forest Plan. U. S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station: Portland, OR. 195 p.
Haynes, T.W. 1986. Inventory and value of old-growth in the Douglas-fir region. PNW-RN 437. U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service, Pacific Northwest Research Station, Portland, OR.
MyCoPortal. 2021. http://mycoportal.org/portal/index.php. Accessed on March 24.
Society of American Foresters. 1984. Scheduling the harvest of old growth : Old-growth forests in the Pacific Northwest : a position of the Society of American Foresters and Report of the SAF Task Force on Scheduling the Harvest of Old-Growth Timber. Bethesda, MD.
Voitk, A., Saar, I., Trudell, S., Spirin, V., Beug, M. and Kõljalg, U. 2017. Polyozellus multiplex (Thelephorales) is a species complex containing four new species. Mycologia 109(6): 975-992.