Although it is a polypore, Boletopsis leucomelaena produces fruit bodies with the habit of a mushroom, having a distinct cap and central stem. It fruits in the autumn singly or in groups, on the ground under conifers (with which it exists in an ectomycorrhizal association). In Scotland, it occurs in a single area of native pinewood where it is associated with Pinus sylvestris. In Europe it is found characteristically in forests dominated by spruce Picea abies.
The fungus is known from only one location in the British Isles - Loch an Eileann, in the Rothiemurchus Forest NNR, near Aviemore in Inverness-shire. It was first recorded there in 1876 and again in 1901, 1906 and 1938. The last record was in September, 1963. Although it is large and conspicuous, it has not been recorded elsewhere in the Rothiemurchus Forest nor in similar habitats in Deeside or Speyside. It is widely distributed in Europe, but is everywhere described as rare and as failing to appear for several years. Its world distribution includes the USA and Japan.
In Great Britain Boletopsis leucomelaena is currently classified as Vulnerable, but a re-assessment for a final Red List is likely to cite it as Endangered. It receives general protection under the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981.
The only known site is within a NNR.
Objectives for this species
If rediscovered at its single known site, maintain the population.
Search only. It is likely that this species will benefit by its inclusion by SNH in the 1998-2000 survey of pinewood priority fungi (tooth fungi
in the genera Bankerasp
., Phellodon sp.
). The species should be considered in the delivery of the action plans for native pinewoods
and tooth fungi (stipitate hydnoid fungi).
Originally published in: UK Biodiversity Group Tranche 2 Action Plans - Volume VI: Terrestrial and freshwater species and habitats (October 1999, Tranche 2, Vol VI, p141)