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Page last updated at 09:22 GMT, Thursday, 10 June 2010 10:22 UK
Rare fungus discovered in England for first time
By Matt Walker
Editor, Earth News

Multiclavula vernalis
Multiclavula vernalis hits Hampshire

A rare fungus has been sighted in England for the first time.

The fungus Multiclavula vernalis, which forms a tiny, orange fruiting body, was found in Hampshire on land used for training by the British Army.

Experts from the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew confirmed the fungus's identity.

The fungus usually prefers much colder climates and has only previously been recorded in the British Isles in the Outer Hebrides and on the Shetland Isles.

Moving south

Keith Blackmore, assistant reserves and grazing project officer for Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, found the small patch of tiny, orange, club-shaped fungi on a site owned and used by the Ministry of Defence (MoD) for army training.

"I knew it was a very unusual discovery when I saw it but I didn't know exactly what it was," said Blackmore.

MORE ABOUT FUNGI

"Having sought expert advice, I'm really thrilled to find out it's an exciting first for England. It's a great addition to the flora and fauna that already exists on these wonderful wildlife reserves."

Samples were sent to the head of mycology at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, who confirmed their identity as Multiclavula vernalis, a fungus rare in the British Isles and never recorded in England before.

It is usually found in colder climes, either nearer the Arctic Circle or in mountainous regions.

SOURCES

Hampshire and Isle of Wight Wildlife Trust, which looks after the site, will be monitoring the fungus to see if it continues to inhabit the site in Hampshire, or spreads.



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