Pleurotus nebrodensis 

Scope: Global

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Fungi Basidiomycota Agaricomycetes Agaricales Pleurotaceae

Scientific Name: Pleurotus nebrodensis
Species Authority: (Inzenga) Quél.
Common Name(s):
English White Ferula Mushroom

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(iv,v)+2ab(iv,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2006
Date Assessed: 2006-01-31
Assessor(s): Venturella, G.
Reviewer(s): Strahm, W. & de Montmollin, B. (Mediterranean Island Plants Red List Authority)
Listed as CR because the area where it is found is less than 100 km² and the population is severely fragmented, and there is a decline in the number of localities and mature individuals.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This mushroom only occurs in northern Sicily, growing in scattered localities in the Madonie mountains from 1,200-2,000m in altitude.
Countries occurrence:
Italy (Sicilia)
Additional data:
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:It is estimated that less than 250 individuals reach maturity each year.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:It grows on limestone substrates, in pastures containing "Basiliscu" Cachrys ferulacea, a member of the Umbelliferae or celery family.

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): P. nebrodensis was first described as Agaricus nebrodensis by Giuseppe Inzenga in 1863 and he called it "the most delicious mushroom of the Sicilian mycological flora". It has been a sought-after species since ancient times, and today remains a prized species. Given its rarity, it is sold in northern Sicily at a price fluctuating between 50-70 Euros per kg. However, as the species is so rare there is no formal market and the species is used in only a few restaurants where it is prepared using a number of traditional recipes.

The population declines are due to the increasing number of mushroom gatherers, both professional and amateur, who are encouraged by the high price this mushroom commands. In addition to this increasing human pressure on the remaining natural populations, unripe fungi are usually collected.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Actions in Place
Legally: Currently, local regulations in the Madonie Park as well as a regional law do not exist. Draft rules have been prepared and submitted for the approval of the Government of Sicily. When approved, the collection of P. nebrodensis will be totally forbidden in zone A of the Park which is an integral reserve area. In other zones the collection of unripe mushrooms (i.e., those under 3 cm in diameter) will also be forbidden.

In situ: This species grows in Madonie Park which is a protected area. Experimental tests demonstrate that it is possible to inoculate the roots of the host plant Cachrys ferulacea with the mushroom, thereby increasing mushroom production in the wild.

Ex situ: This species has started to be cultivated in order to reduce collection pressures on the species in the wild. The mushroom is grown in a tunnel made of metal arches varying in length between 20-30m, and covered by a black net that provides 90% shade, and can be grown at various altitudes. Fortunately cultivated Pleurotus mushrooms retain the same characteristic aroma and flavour of the wild varieties, which is not the case with other species such as oyster mushrooms. The ex situ cultivation also provides additional income for local farmers, who can offer a cheaper product than that collected from the wild which reduces the pressure on the wild population.

Actions Needed
Legal action and enforcement is needed to stop over-collection and collection of unripe individuals of P. nebrodensis in the wild. At the same time the species needs to be cultivated ex situ to remove pressure on the wild populations. Reinforcement measures by inoculating the roots of its host plant and boosting wild production would also help, provided wild collection is carefully managed.

Citation: Venturella, G. 2006. Pleurotus nebrodensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2006: e.T61597A12506882. . Downloaded on 03 December 2016.
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