Sarcodon leucopus

Sarcodon leucopus


Белоногo ежe



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Not evaluated Data deficient Least concern Near threatened Vulnerable ENDANGERED Critically endangered Extinct in the wild Extinct
Assessment info
Habitat and Ecology
Use and Trade
Conservation Actions


Scientific name

Sarcodon leucopus


(Pers.) Maas Geest. & Nannf.


Hydnum leucopus Pers.

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

EN – Endangered D

Date assessed

November 2020


Tofilovska, S.


Kost, G.


Karadelev, M.

Rusevska, K.


Miskovic, M.


Sarcodon leucopus is a mycorrhizal species associated with old-growth forests of Pinus sylvestris on calcareous soil. This is an extremely rare species confirmed at only two sites in the country, together with the populations in Bulgaria, they constitute the southeasternmost populations in Europe. It is highly probable that the species occurs at other sites with appropriate habitat, thus the probable total number of sites is estimated to be up to 10 and a population size of ca. 200 mature individuals, within both known and projected sites. The species is under threat due to restricted distribution and small number of mature individuals. Thus the species is assessed as endangered according to D criteria.


Current population trend



An extremely rare species with a small population, recorded at only two locations in the country. According to the instructions for estimation of mature individuals provided by Dahlberg and Mueller (2011), an estimation of ca. 200 can be made, based on the probable total number of sites in the country (ca. 10), the estimated number of functional individuals at each locality (estimated to be two), and the template of how many mature individuals each reproducing genotype may give rise to (template used 10).

Habitat and Ecology



Habitat and Ecology

Sarcodon leucopus occurs in mountain areas forming ectomycorrhiza with Pinus sylvestris (Scots pine). It inhabits nutrient-poor sites, on dry to mesic, calcareous soils. Old, sunny, semi-open forests are suitable environment. The species produces sporocarps in late summer and autumn.

This rare species is registered at only two localities in the country – in the mountains of Desat and Dobra Voda, at an elevation of ca. 1,100 m a.s.l. Together with the populations in Bulgaria, they constitute the southeasternmost populations in Europe. With high reliability, presence of the species is predictable in the mountains of Kozjak – Mariovo and Kozuf, where habitat of Pinus sylvestris is available along with a limestone substrate, and with less reliability in Kajmakcalan, Malesevo and Ograzden. The probable total number of sites is estimated to be up to 10, according to the ecology of the species and the availability of suitable habitat.

Use and trade

Use and trade

It is an edible mushroom, known as an important source of natural antioxidants. Studies have indicated that the strong antioxidative activity could protect DNA strands from free radical-induced cleavage, and that they have immunomodulating and neuroprotective activities (Marcotullio 2011, Ma et al. 2014). It is not part of the market trade centers.



Sarcodon leucopus has minute population, and its distribution is restricted to a very small area. In keeping with the databases of the State Statistics Office (2018), тhe Southwest Region and Polog Region, where the species has been recorded, faced a perpetual decline in the area under Scots pine in the 2010-2018 period (State Statistical Office 2018). Data on quality of the stands is not available (State Statistics Office 2018). According to Houston Durrant et al. (2016), a decline of forest areas under Pinus sylvestris in the southern parts of Europe is expected under conditions of a warming climate. Maintaining healthy forest stands of Pinus sylvestris is essential. Nevertheless, diseases of this ectomycorrhizal partner have been reported. One of the most serious threats is bark beetle species, specifically, Ips sexdentatus Börner, Ips acuminatus Gyllenhal, Blastophagus minor Hartig, Blastophagus piniperda Linnaeus, and Ips mansfeldii Wach. recognized as pests causing drying out of the wood (DPRS 2019). Pathogen fungi causing colour change of needles, which eventually droop and drop to the ground (Lophodermium seditiosum Minter, Staley & Millar and Lophodermium pinastri (Scrad. ex Hook.) Chév), or drying out of pine branches (Cenangium ferruginosum Fr.) have also been reported (DPRS 2019). The species is under threat of fires since in this type of habitat fires are common. It is also threatened by air pollution due to the high sensitivity of the fungus to nitrogen deposition (Arnolds 1989, Arnolds 2003). Habitat degradation and loss as a result of logging and infrastructure development pose the highest threat.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

Conservation needed: The already known locations where the species is present must be protected against utilisation of the ectomycorrhizal partner. Restoration of the habitat lost in recent years and maintenance of healthy forest stands in other possible sites fitting for growth of this fungus should be taken into consideration.

Research needed: Regular monitoring on an annual basis at the established sites, coupled with field research at the noted potential sites in order to explore the distribution and dynamic of occurrence of Sarcodon leucopus, and protect all sites of this rare species. Assessment of forest health and, if required, undertaking essential measures to preserve the health of the forest stands. It is advisable to digitize and regularly update forest inventories and forestry plans. There is a necessity of elaboration of a habitat map.



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Ma, K., Han, J., Bao, L., Wei, T. and Liu, H. 2014. Two sarcoviolins with antioxidative and α‑glucosidase inhibitory activity from the edible mushroom Sarcodon leucopus collected in Tibet. Journal of Natural Products 77: 942−947.

Marcotullio, M.C. 2011. Sarcodon mushrooms: biologically active metabolites. In: I Rasooli (ed.), Phytochemicals: Bioactivities and Impact on Health, pp. 77-94. IntechOpen.

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