Fungi detectives wanted in Western Somerset

Thursday 21st October 2010

People visiting the Quantock Hills in Somerset are being asked to become fungi detectives, this autumn, with the launch of a survey by the Somerset Biodiversity Partnership to compliment one already underway within Exmoor National Park.

Waxcap fungi were once a familiar sight in Somerset, however, they have become increasingly uncommon due to their intolerance of chemical fertilisers. The survey will help protect waxcaps by locating the last remaining areas of unimproved grassland, where these mushrooms are found.

Members of the public can download an ID chart and send in their sightings online at www.somersetwildlife.org/waxcapsurvey.

Somerset Biodiversity Partnership Officer, Alison Slade, said: “When out walking this autumn, particularly across rough grassland, keep an eye out for bright coloured fungi growing in the grassland.

“Waxcaps come in a variety of colours, including bright pinks, reds, greens and oranges, making them a highly attractive addition to the autumn landscape.

“These brightly coloured fungi indicate grasslands good for biodiversity and concern about their future has prompted development of Species Action Plans. Whilst records in any location are valuable, this autumn there is a focus on recording in the western side of Somerset.

“Sending in reports of sightings will help us identify areas in need of special protection and help us preserve this once common fungi.”

For more information on hunting for colourful fungi this autumn go to www.somersetwildlife.org/waxcapsurvey.

 

Story by Somerset Wildlife Trust
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Photo captions: At a recent survey training day, led by Richard Thompson at Fyne Court, participants were delighted to discover a previously unknown site of national importance for waxcaps.