Growers asked to watch out for fungus

A fungus thought to be relatively rare in the south of England could be more common than first thought and one body is looking to find out just how prevalent it is.

Hoof Fungus, which is also known as Fomes Fomentarius, typically grows on beech trees and can be recognised by its large, grey, hoof-shaped structure measuring up to 20cm across.

The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) reported that the Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service has noticed a rise in sightings of the fungus in the local area.

Until recently, it has only been prevalent in the north, but the body now wants to find out exactly where it is remove common.

Biodiversity information officer Martin Horlock noted that it will be useful to know more about the scale of the fungus’ spread.

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

Those looking out for the fungus should also report any sightings of the red-capped and white spotted Amanita muscaria, which is poisonous and also attaches itself to beech trees.

Meanwhile, the RHS recently reported that a year-long review of England’s wildlife reserves has found that they are often too small and too isolated to make a difference.