Garden and greenhouse owners asked to report fungus

Garden and greenhouse enthusiasts are being asked to check their birch trees for a fungus that is now thought to be more widespread than was originally believed.

According to the Royal Horticultural Society (RHS), the Hoof Fungus, otherwise known as Fomes fomentarius, is fairly common in the north, but has been rare in the south of the country.

However, conservation group Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service has recorded a number of cases of the fungus in the area and is now asking growers to watch out for and report any signs of it.

The fungus can be identified by its large, grey, hoof-shaped structure that can measure up to 20cm across.

Biodiversity information officer Martin Horlock explained that the aim is to get a clearer picture of the scale of the problem.

"The data we collect will give us a baseline to look at for population surveys in the future," he said.

Gardeners are also being asked to report sightings of the Amanita muscaria – or fly agaric – which is a poisonous fungus associated with birch that features a red skin covered in white spots.

In other news, the RHS reported that a remote Scottish island has been found to be an internationally important site for waxcap fungi.