Have you ever noticed colourful mushrooms and toadstools in your local churchyard?
If so, the National Botanic Garden of Wales would like to hear from you.
David Hardy at the National Botanic has just sent me the following - it really uis fascinating!
'Carmarthenshire is one of the best places in the Britain to find a group of wild fungi known as waxcaps, fairy clubs, spindles and earth-tongues. These bizarre and beautiful mushrooms come in a variety of strange shapes and vivid colours – reds, yellows, orange, green, purples and pinks – which can stand out in short mown churchyards.
The Botanic Garden is helping to conserve these wonderful fungi because they are fast disappearing from farmland which is being treated with chemical fertiliser or ploughed up.
Luckily, some churchyards are providing a refuge for these delicate life-forms. Their cemeteries tend to be well drained, well mown, have the grass cuttings removed and don’t have fertiliser spread on them. We want to find out where these are and contact the churches to let them know what a valuable piece of biodiversity they have.
National Botanic Garden interpretation officer Bruce Langridge says: “There are more than 400 churchyards in Carmarthenshire but only a few of these are rich in these colourful fungi.
“Waxcaps, fairy clubs, spindles and earthtongues only really come out in the autumn and we haven’t got time to visit every churchyard. So we desperately need the help of church wardens, vicars, ministers, deacons, people who mow the cemeteries or even dog walkers who pass through cemeteries, to let me know if they think they’ve seen these fungi.
“Either me or a local expert will then come out to identify the fungi and, if they are worth conserving, I’ll tell the churchyard owner how best to conserve them.”
Bruce would like to stress that none of these fungi are dangerous to health and should be seen as an asset for the church, reflecting how well managed the churchyards are. He adds “Local mycologist Nigel Stringer carried out a survey of Carmarthenshire’s churchyard fungi in 2002. At a talk he gave to the Llanelli Naturalists’ Society earlier this year, he showed how some of these churchyards have been tarmac-ed over, cut inappropriately or even built on. Now, if you don’t know you’ve got a wonderful natural asset, you won’t know of the need to conserve it.”
If you see, or have seen, fungi that look like these (see below) in a Carmarthenshire cemetery, could you let Bruce Langridge know? He can be contacted by either emailing email@example.com or give him a ring on 01558 667162.
This project has been commissioned by the Carmarthenshire Biodiversity Partnership and funded by the Countryside Council for Wales'.
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