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Volunteer spots rare fungus rising out of the darkness

PUBLISHED: 16:11 05 May 2010 | UPDATED: 15:39 16 August 2010

RARE mushrooms have been found for the first time in this country located in a grazing pasture in the borough.

RARE mushrooms have been found for the first time in this country located in a grazing pasture in the borough.

The "significant" fungus, Mycena inclinata forma albopilea, was discovered at Hawkwood in Petts Wood by National Trust volunteer and keen mycologist Ian Johnson earlier this month.

The white form of the Clustered Bonnet was found growing on sweet chestnut and oak deadwood.

Ian identified the fungus as having all of the characteristics of the normal Clustered Bonnet but with distinctive white caps.

Site ranger Sam Pettman said: "It is great that this fungal species has been identified growing here along with so many others at Petts Wood. We're lucky that Ian is such a committed volunteer and skilled mycologist."

"Although we are an urban site surrounded by the suburbs of south-east London, we have a huge variety of wildlife that brings great pleasure to our many visitors. We work hard to retain deadwood wherever possible, so it is satisfying that this work seems to be paying off in providing habitat for many of our diverse range of fungi."

Photographs of the fungus were sent to Kew Gardens for identification, and in a subsequent article published in Field Mycology it was noted that the species was internationally recognised and named in 2003, but that this collection at Petts Wood is likely to be the first in Britain to be formally identified under this name.

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