Macedonian Mycological Society


Rare and Threatened Fungi in Lake Prespa Region

                                                                                 Russula sanguinea

 македонска верзија

In Lake Prespa region, the presence of rare and unique forest associations and substrates, juniper in particular, has a beneficial effect on the growth of specific mycoflora with plenty of rare species not only at the local but also the European level. In the course of the last few decades, there has been huge interest for commercial harvesting of mushrooms, and an increased number of purchasers of wild edible fungi. Excessive harvesting severely threatens fungi, while the inappropriate manners of collection destroy  fungi mycelia and their habitats. The intensive popularisation of fungi collecting for nutrition purposes has led to evident reduction of the populations of edible fungi.

Concerning the fungal species existing in Prespa region, the list of all species published in scientific publications to date has been used. In the final compilation of the list of rare and threatened species, the species meeting the following criteria have been included: 

- Species proposed for protection with the provisions of the Bern Convention (BC) and the list of the European Council for Conservation of Fungi (ECCF);

- Rare or threatened species incorporated in the European Red List (ERL);
- Rare or important species bonded to threatened types of ecosystems i.e. substrates.

Due to the insufficient research of the region, the classical IUCN system of categories cannot be applied entirely. That is the reason why own categorisation has been made, customised to our conditions. The categorisation of endangerment to species entails as follows:

Particularly rare or rare species and species growing in threatened or rare habitats in Prespa, and
Species threatened due to excessive exploitation. 

Selected as RARE in Prespa region, according to the first categorisation

THE DEVIL'S BOLETE (Boletus satanas)
It distinguishes from other Boletes by the lightly-coloured cap and red pores and stem. A poisonous species that bruises when cut. It most often grows in oak forest (= ERL).

THE WOLF BOLETE (Boletus lupinus)
Akin to the former species but with pink-shaded cap, red pores and yellowish stem. It most commonly develops in oak and rarely in beech forest. A poisonous species.

THE PEPPERPOT EARTHSTAR (Myriostoma coliforme)
Its fruit body is star-shaped with 5 to 12 brown rays. The hymenium is round-shaped, silver-brown in colour, opening with multiple pores and mounted on several thin stalks. A very rare species, growing on sandy soil. It is known from Golem Grad Island (= ERL, ECCF, BK).

THE ARCHED EARTHSTAR (Geastrum fornicatum)
Its fruit body is star-shaped with the rays extended downwards and standing on the tips of other shorter and wider rays, curved upwards. A rare species, known from Golem Grad Island (= ERL).

GIANT PUFFBALL (Calvatia gigantea)
A puffball with a round shape and large dimensions, reaching up to 40 cm. It is found in pastures, meadows, from mid-spring to late autumn.

BOHEMIAN TRUFFLE (Pisolithus arhizus)
Its fruit body is pear-shaped, with thick crust, and dark brown in colour. A mycorrhizal species, which occasionally grows below ground. When cut, one can see its distinctive yellow cells (= ERL).

SANDY STILT PUFFBALL (Battarrea phalloides)
The fruit body consists of a stem (up to 25 cm) and a cap-shaped hymenium, covered with brown spore dust. The stem is tall, hairy, and with veil remnants at the stem base. A very rare species in Europe, growing on sandy soil. It is known from Golem Grad Island (= ERL, ECCF).

CORAL TOOTH (Hericium coralloides)
A species easy to recognise, coral-shaped, and with spines up to 1 cm in length. It occurs as a saprobe on logs and stumps of deciduous trees (= ECCF).

HEXANGULAR POLYPORE (Hexagonia nitida)
A Mediterranean species with very wide hexagonal pores. It occurs as a saprobe on dry branches and trunks of Macedonian oak.

JUNIPER POCKET ROT (Pyrofomes demidoffii)
Its fruit body is ungulate, perennial, bracket-like and growing individually. The upper surface is hairy and brown-coloured. It develops exclusively as a parasite on Greek juniper and causes damage to juniper associations. 

BROWN ROT (Antrodia juniperina)
Its fruit body has a solid crust with wide surface pores. It grows exclusively as a saprobe on dry branches and trunks of Greek juniper.
RED LIP (Hymenochaete cruenta
A crust fungus, red to orange in colour. It grows exclusively on dry branches of living fir trunks. A rare species known only from Galicica.

THE JACK O'LANTERN (Omphalotus olearius)
A parasite species occurring at the trunk base or at shallow roots. The mature samples are always funnel-shaped; hence, they accumulate water on rainy days. It is yellow to orange in colour, and brown in the middle. It grows from May through November on broad-leaved trees, most commonly oak and beech. It is often confused with the Chanterelle, which is comestible, thus causing intoxiation (= ERL).

HOOTFOOT WEBCAP (Cortinarius bulliardii)
A species easy to recognise, with red to brown cap and orange stem base. It develops in autumn in oak and beech forests (= ERL).

VEINED SHIELD (Pluteus thomsonii)
A fungus with small dimensions (up to 3 cm), brown in colour and typical, distinct veins on the upper cap surface. It appears as a saprobe on wood debris of deciduous trees.

THREATENED due to excessive exploitation by local population 

BOLETES (Boletus edulis s.l.)
Three similar species are exploited under the ordinary name Bolete: the Summer Bolete, the Cep and the Negro-Head Bolete.

The Summer Bolete (Boletus aestivalis) is found in deciduous forests from June through November, and it has a cracked cap surface. It is collected along with the very similar Cep (Boletus edulis) and the Negro-Head Bolete (Boletus aereus). These differ from the poisonous Boletes by the fact that when a piece of the flesh is torn away, they do not alter colour (do not bruise).

The Royal Bolete (Boletus regius) has finely coloured pink cap, and vivid-yellow stem and pores. It grows in deciduous forests, most often oak, from the second half of June throughout the hot summer months.

MORELS (Morchella spp.)
The ordinary morel (Morchella esculenta) grows in spring in meadows, parks, gardens, at roadsides and in light, deciduous and mixed forests. This is one of the most valuable fungi. It can be mixed up with other species of morels such as the Conical Morel (Morchella conica) and the Tall Morel (Morchella elata), but they are all edible.

CAESAR'S MUSHROOM (Amanita caesarea)
It is found in clearings and warm places, in light and deciduous forests (mostly oak), from June through October. A frequent and widespread species, and it is one of the most delicious fungi, known ever since the Roman Times, hence its name. Due to the orange-red colour of its cap and the yellow gills, it is easy to discriminate from the poisonous Fly Agaric, which has distinctive white gills and stem (= ECL, ECCF).

THE CHANTERELLE (Cantharellus cibarius)
A mycorrhizal species, growing individually or in groups, in coniferous and deciduous forests. A widespread and very common species. It is characteristic yellow in colour, with decurrent, gill-like folds running deeply down the stem. It is delicious and of outstanding quality.

An underground, highly-esteemed commercial fungus. It develops in humus on calcareous soil in deciduous and mixed forests, most frequently under oak, hazel, beech, ash, elm etc. It has a strong and pleasant odour, therefore, specially trained dogs or pigs are used to find a fruiting body.

OAKMOSS LICHEN (Evernia prunastri) 
A well-known commercial species occurring in large quantities on branches and trees, most often of oak. A common and widespread species, particularly in mountainous areas. 

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