Pretty in pink, the toadstool botanists want to trace

Click to follow
The Independent Online

In the first rays of sunlight, they could be mistaken for miniature ballerinas with flamboyant pink tutus.

But if you're lucky enough to find one of Europe's more unusual fungi, the pink waxcap, or Hygrocybe calyptriformis, don't just admire. Plantlife, a botanical organisation, wants to hear from you for a survey being run until mid-December.

"They're uncommon everywhere, but it is possible they occur more in the British Isles than anywhere else in the world," said Jenny Duckworth, biodiversity research manager with Plantlife. "[The survey] is to establish the extent of their presence."

Inedible, but not poisonous, pink waxcaps are fragileand occur on short grassland free of large amounts of artificial fertilisers or lime, such as urban lawns, churchyards and parks.

The survey organisers are also looking for the yellow-green parrot waxcap and the blackening waxcap. Plantlife helpline: 020 7808 0120.