Habitat and Ecology
Hericium coralloides grows in old, well-preserved forests as a saprotroph on dead hardwood trees, on trunks with large diameter, and it can also develop on dead parts of living trees. It thrives in an environment that is not too dense, it prefers sunlight and heat. The presence of Hericium coralloides is an indicator of an advanced state of decay, and it causes white rot. Fagus sylvatica is its major substrate but it is also found on Quercus spp. in our country. It has been reported from Alnus, Betula, Fraxinus excelsior, Populus and Sorbus, too (ArtDatabanken 2019, Boddy et al. 2011).
It is a rare species in the country, registered at only 18 sites from the mountains of Belasica, Bistra, Bukovic, Dobra Voda, Galicica, Jakupica, Kajmakcalan, Korab, Kozuf, Ograzden, Osogovo Mts, Pelister, Plackovica, Vodno and Kicevo Valley (Melovski et al. 2013). It has been observed at an elevation ranging between 400 m and 1,350 m. Two sites in Mavrovo NP and two sites in Pelister NP are located in the sustainable use zone, while one site in Galicica NP is located in the strict protection zone.
Although in North Macedonia these types of forests are dominant, the number of recorded sites is low even though the species is well known and easy to be identified. Nonetheless, besides the known sites, it is highly probable that the species occurs at other sites with a proper habitat, accordingly an estimation of probable sites was made (Dahlberg and Mueller 2011). The probable total number of sites is guesstimated to be by 3 to 5 times higher than the current one, resulting in ca. 55–90 sites.