Natural England
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Fungus leaves Reserve in the pink

The rare white variant of the scarlet elfcup fungus found on Buckholt Wood is only the second record this century.

Cotswold Fungus Group’s spring foray has been a runaway success. Their trip to Buckholt Wood, part of Natural England’s Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods National Nature Reserve (NNR), saw the number of species recorded at the Reserve reach 782, the second highest number on a Gloucestershire site. To cap it all off, the group found the very rare white variant of the scarlet elfcup. There are only a handful of records of this nationally and the previous record (also at Buckholt) in 2008 was the only record in the 21st century. As the name suggests, the scarlet elfcups (also known as the fairies’ baths) are bright red. The Group was delighted to find a brilliant white fruiting body nestling among the normally scarlet-coloured cups.

Dave Shorten of the Cotswold Fungus Group said “It was a real highlight to a fantastic foray and it’s brilliant to see the white variant is still fruiting at Buckholt.”

Natural England’s Senior Reserve Manager, Rob Wolstenholme said “It’s great when something like this pops up. Fungi are fascinating and beautiful in their own right and NNRs are a great place to spend a day on a toadstool safari.”

Notes to editors

For further information or photographs, please contact Lyndon Marquis: 0300 060 4236, 07786 277223, lyndon.marquis@naturalengland.org.uk

Mushroom foragers

If you’re foraging for the table, always get the landowner’s permission and be very sure of your ID.

About Cotswold Commons and Beechwoods National Nature Reserve

The National Nature Reserve is made up of five sites managed by Natural England: Rough Park, Buckholt Wood, Cranham Common, Sheepscombe Common and Edge Common (now named Rudge Hill), and five jointly managed with The National Trust: Workman’s Wood, Saltridge Wood, Lords and Ladies Wood, Blackstable Wood and Popes Wood. The woodlands have a long history of management for timber and are dominated by beech with some ash, pedunculate oak and sycamore. Other tree species include wych elm, field maple, whitebeam, holly and yew. The field layer consists mainly of bramble, dog's mercury and ivy with wood anemone, sanicle and bluebell. More local species include green hellebore, common wintergreen, bird's-nest orchid and broad-leaved helleborine. A number of nationally rare plants also occur, including fingered sedge, stinking hellebore and yellow star-of-bethlehem. The woodland animals include rare spiders and snails - all restricted to ancient woodland sites. Butterflies include silver-washed fritillary and, less commonly, white admiral and white-letter hairstreak. Breeding birds include tawny owl, buzzard and wood warbler.

About Cotswold Fungus Group

The Cotswold Fungus Group is part of a national network of enthusiasts for mushrooms, fungi and all things mycological. We organise regular fungus forays throughout the year, visiting a wide range of sites throughout north Wiltshire and Gloucestershire (excluding the Forest of Dean, where there is a separate group). The group also organises a fungus foray to France each autumn. Members are encouraged to learn to identify fungi with the help of experienced identifiers. The records of finds are sent a national database at the British Mycological Society in London and to local Wildlife Trusts. All of our foray activities are covered by public liability insurance, provided by the Association of British Fungus Groups. If you would like to join us, please complete and return the membership form with your subscription. Members are circulated with details of the forays for each season and receive lists of the finds at these events. Information on other fungus groups and their activities are also available.

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