'Comeback' of rare ancient fungus in Norfolk

Hoof Fungus
Image caption A fossil found at Shropham shows the species was present 100,000 years ago

A rare tree fungus which existed in Norfolk thousands of years ago may be making a comeback, a wildlife group has said.

The Norfolk Biodiversity Information Service (NBIS) wants sightings of the Hoof Fungus, which produces a grey hoof-shaped form on birch trees.

NBIS said it would help them understand how wildlife was responding to changes in climate and land use.

A fossil found at Shropham shows the species was present 100,000 years ago.

It has recently been found at several sites in Norfolk.

The fungus, Fomes Fomentarius, produces a perennial grey bracket shape up to 7" (20cm) across and about 5" (15cm) deep on the trees.

Recorder for fungi

The NBIS fungus survey, which was designed with help from the Norfolk county recorder for fungi, Tony Leech, ends in November.

It is also asking for sightings of Fly Agaric, a poisonous fungus with a red cap covered with white spots.

It is widespread on heath and woodland, frequently near birch, from September to November.

The NBIS is also interested in Red-lead Roundhead, a small distinctive orange fungus often found on woodchips in garden flowerbeds from September to November.

This alien species is thought to have been introduced from Australia.

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