Forest fungus with a difference
Heritage of the Wild
Monday 13 May 1996
It can only grow in the faeces of horses and ponies fed on acid grasslands with no use of artificial fertiliser. It also has to pass through their bowels before it can grow at all. Once fairly widespread in Britain, it is now thought to be almost completely confined to the forest, in Hampshire, because of the decline of horse grazing in that kind of habitat.
In autumn these discs eject spores on to the surrounding grass. They - or something they grow into (no one has yet found out what happens to the spores) - have to be eaten by a pony during the next autumn before the fungus can begin to grow in newly deposited dung.
This species, Poronia punctata, is one of four fungi for which rescue plans have been proposed by a committee of civil servants, wildlife scientists and conservation groups.
Costed plans for a total of 116 plant and animal species and 14 types of habitat were published by the committee last December. This week the Secretary of State for the Environment, John Gummer, will give his response, and indicate the kind of backing the Government is willing to give to the initiative, part of Britain's response to the 1992 Rio Earth Summit and the biodiversity treaty signed there.
The action plan for the nail fungus calls for it to be restored to 10 former sites by 2004, to study its requirements and maintain its New Forest population. The key requirement is to maintain horse and pony grazing on the right type of pasture.
- 3 The enemy within: People who hear voices in their heads are being encouraged to talk back
- 4 British grandmother Lindsay Sandiford faces execution by firing squad in Indonesia
Paris attacks: Do not call Charlie Hebdo killers 'terrorists', BBC says
UK weather: Snow to fall in the coming week with sub-zero temperatures to last until early February
Asteroid narrowly scrapes past Earth: how to watch the closest space rock for decades as it flies by
Saudi preacher who 'raped and tortured' his five -year-old daughter to death is released after paying 'blood money'
Prince Philip set to be knighted by Australia: Celebrate by reading his greatest gaffes
'We would evict Queen from Buckingham Palace and allocate her council house,' say Greens
French court convicts three over homophobic tweets, in case hailed as a 'significant victory' by LGBT rights campaigners
Greece elections: Syriza and EU on collision course after election win for left-wing party
British Muslim school children suffering a backlash of abuse following Paris attacks
Islamic history is full of free thinkers - but recent attempts to suppress critical thought are verging on the absurd
30,000 reasons why the rhetoric on immigrants claiming benefits can stop now
£38000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: One of the UK's best performing...
£35000 - £43000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our award-winning client is one...
£15000 - £21000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This leading provider of Atlas ...
£18000 - £20000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Opportunity to join established...