A very rare mushroom is discovered in Petts Wood
The frustrating disruption caused by the reconstruction of the Chislehurst Road railway bridge has lead to the excitement of discovering a very rare mushroom. During reconstruction, the normal access into the woods from Orpington Road was closed and people tended to enter via the bank behind the nearby bus stop. The heavy autumn rains made this bank very muddy and slippery and some people found an alternative access about 10 yards south of the bus stop. A local amateur mycologist using this route noticed many mushrooms on the roadside side of the boundary bank and thought they might be the Clustered Domecap (Lyophyllum decastes), a fairly common species found occasionally in the woods. However there was something about them that was not quite right, so an expert mycologist was consulted.
Much excitement was caused when she confirmed that they were not the Domecap but were in fact the “Bitter Funnel” (Leucopaxillus gentianeus (formerly amarus)) a very rare mushroom in GB (although quite common in Southern Italy). The first sighting of this species in GB was at Lullingstone and it has subsequently been found in no more than a couple of other sites. It is possible that this mushroom has been on the Petts Wood roadside bank for many years but has remained unnoticed because the normally heavy traffic prevents people from walking close by. Who knows what other rarities are lurking in other unvisited corners of the wood? by Ian Johnson