Amylocystis spp. (Amylocystis lapponica)
|Size||Fruiting body: up to 15 cm across (2)|
Amylocystis lapponica is short-listed for inclusion in the Bern Convention by the European Council for Conservation of Fungi (ECCF), and included on the Red Lists of 7 European countries (3).
Amylocystis lapponica is a medium-sized bracket fungus. The fruiting body is hairy and cream coloured, developing rusty brown spots as it ages (2). The fleshy fruiting body gives off a pleasant, and distinctive, odour (2).
WARNING: many species of fungus are poisonous or contain chemicals that can cause sickness. Never pick and eat any species of fungus that you cannot positively recognise or are unsure about. Some species are deadly poisonous and can cause death within a few hours if swallowed.
Although rare, Amylocystis lapponica is found throughout the taiga region, from Scandinavia across Russia and into the United States (2).
In virgin coniferous forest, Amylocystis lapponica grows on the trunks and dead logs of spruce trees (Picea spp.) (3).
Fungi are an enormous group of organisms that are so distinctive from both plants and animals that they are placed in their own kingdom. The main body of the fungus is composed of a multitude of microscopic threads (known as 'hyphae') which are located within the substrate (4). The fruiting body (such as the more familiar mushroom or toadstool) is produced to release spores and thus allows reproduction to occur. Fungi feed by absorbing nutrients from their surroundings.
This species is most at risk from habitat disturbance as large areas of virgin forest are destroyed for timber (2).
Amylocystis lapponica is a candidate species for listing in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, otherwise known as the Bern Convention (3) (6). The protection of taiga forests and increased population surveys are conservation recommendations (2). Recent surveys in the Fennoscandia region of Norway have shown Amylocystis lapponica to be more common than was previously thought, and have also revealed the importance of this species of fungus as an indicator of virgin forest (5).
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- Spores: microscopic particles involved in both dispersal and reproduction. They comprise a single or group of unspecialised cells and do not contain an embryo, as do seeds.
- Taiga/ or Boreal forest: the sub-arctic forest of the high northern latitudes that surrounds the pole and is mainly composed of coniferous trees.
National Biodiversity Network, Species Dictionary (June, 2003)
European Council for Conservation of Fungi (ECCF) (2001) Datasheets of threatened mushrooms of Europe, candidates for listing in Appendix I of the Convention. Bern Convention Standing Committee.
The distribution, status and habitat requirement of the 33 fungal candidates for listing in Appendix I of the Bern Convention. (June 2003)
- Pegler, D. & Spooner, B. (1992) The Mushroom Identifier. Apple Press, London.
Bern Convention (July, 2003)
International Mycological Congress (July, 2003)