Snow morel

Gyromitra gigas


Џиновска смрчка



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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

Gyromitra gigas


(Krombh.) Cooke


Helvella gigas Krombh

Assessment info

IUCN Red List Category and Criteria

Vulnerable D1

Date assessed

November 2020


Karadelev, M.


Kost, G.


Rusevska, K.

Tofilovska, S.


Miskovic, M.


Gyromitra gigas is a rare species with very fragmented and isolated populations. The species is known from two localities, one situated on the territory of Pelister NP. The number of recorded individuals is approximately 150. The highest number of specimens has been noted at the site in Jakupica Mt. Nonetheless, with regards to the fact that the species is not strictly linked to conifers but it also occurs in deciduous forests, the anticipated number of sites and specimens would be multiple times as big as the current figure. АОО is 32 км2 but it also includes other sites with pine communities where the species is expected to occur. The major threat is habitat changes as a result of forest fires, wood extraction, tourism development, etc. The location in Pelister NP is under strong anthropogenic impact by visitors.


Current population trend



In N. Macedonia, the population size is small. During the field survey, the precise data on the status of the species population size on the specified sites was established. It has been collected on two different locations and the number of individuals is around 150. The largest number of specimens has been observed at the site in Jakupica Mt. However, considering that the species is not strictly linked to conifers but it is also found in deciduous forests, the expected number of sites and specimens would be multiple times as big as the current figure.

Habitat and Ecology


1 Forest
1.4 Forest – Temperate

Habitat and Ecology

Gyromitra gigas occurs in hardwoods as well as coniferous forests or in forest clearings, prevalently in close proximity of (or directly from) old stumps, rotten logs or other decayed wood. In central Europe, it prefers woods of birch or aspen, but it also grows in association with spruce, linden, hornbeam or oak, and occasionally with other trees. Gyromitra gigas occurs from submontane to montane level, both on alkaline and acidic substrates. Ascomata emerge from late March until mid-April, and they persist until early May. Growing solitary to gregariously. Overall, it is not very common; yet, in certain regions and some years, it is more abundant. In western and southern Europe, it is predominantly collected in coniferous forests at medium to high elevation although collections under Fagus are frequently reported.

In N. Macedonia, it is found in old-growth Pinus peuce forests, at an altitude of 1,600 m a.s.l., and also in a creeping-pine community, at altitudes of approximately 1,900-2,000 m. The stands of creeping pine or dwarf mountain pine (Pinus mugo) develop in the subalpine or alpine belt in Jakupica mountain massif. This community represents a priority habitat according to the Habitat Directive, *4070: Bushes with Pinus mugo and Rhododendron hirsutum (Mugo-Rhododendretum hirsuti). In both cases, the species was collected in April, on rotten creeping pine stumps or on ground.

Use and trade

Use and trade

There is no confirmed use and trade of this species in N. Macedonia.



Gyromitra gigas is a rare species whose populations are very fragmented and isolated. Their habitat changes due to forest fires, wood extraction and tourism development. The location in Pelister NP is under strong anthropogenic impact by visitors.

Conservation actions

Conservation actions

Study of the population numbers and range; interpretation of species status through reinforced understanding of the species biology and ecology; habitat conservation; study of the trends via monitoring.



Breitenbach, J. & Kränzlin, F. 1981. Pilze der Schweiz Band 1. Ascomyceten. Verlag Mykologia, Luzern.

Hansen, L. and Knudsen, H. 2000. Nordic Macromycetes. Vol. 1. Ascomycetes. Nordsvamp, Copenhagen.

Karadelev M. and Rusevska K. 2013. Contribution to the Macedonian Red List of Fungi. Proceedings of the 4th Congress of Ecologists of Macedonia with International Participation. Ohrid, 12-15 October 2012.

Karadelev M., Rusevska K, Kajevska I, Mitic-Kopanja D., 2019. Checklist of Larger Ascomycetes in the Republic of Macedonia. Section of Natural, Mathematical and Biotechnical Sciences, MASA, 40(2): 239–253.

Karadelev, M, Kost, G. Rexer, K.H., 2003. Macromycetes diversity in Pinus peuce forest in the Republic of Macedonia. Atti del III Convegno Nazionale di Studi Micologici “I Funghi del Monte Amiata”: 32-47. Piancastagnaio.