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Last Updated: Thursday, 29 December 2005, 16:22 GMT
Rare hedgehog fungus in city park
Hedgehog fungus seen in Brighton
The rare hedgehog fungus is endangered and cannot be picked
A rare fungus named after a hedgehog because of its spiky football shape has been found in a Brighton park.

Volunteer nature warden Pru Gridley saw the white hedgehog fungus in Stanmer Woods this autumn, the council said.

Research by Brighton council has found that the endangered species has been seen only 12 other times in the UK in the past 45 years.

The protected fungus found on an ancient beech tree "must have been there for centuries", the council said.

The council said a national action plan had been formed to protect the fungus, which highlighted the need to protect ancient trees as a key to conservation.

Councillor Joyce Edmond-Smith said: "It goes to show that even in an urban area there are some really special discoveries still waiting to be made."

A photograph of the fungus is on the council's CityWildlife website, where people can register as nature wardens and record their finds.

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