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Climate pokes fungi at mixed-up mushrooms.

Confused mushrooms are getting more and more mixed-up by the changing British climate, according to one of the countrys top fungi experts.

The appearances of various species of fungi at the wrong times of year could be important evidence of the effect global warning is having on Britains weather, says Mr Dave Shorten of the Gloucestershire Wildlife Trust.

Last summer, he found the St Georges Mushroom which gets its name because it usually appears on St Georges Day in April growing in late July. And the month before he found the delicious edible fungi Ceps, usually an Autumn delicacy, growing in Worcestershire.

Recently he has found the sun-loving Mediterranean Cage Fungi growing in Devon, hundreds of miles from its usual habitat.

Mr Shorten said 1997 was a strange year which began with the summer Field Blewit fungi being found on the south coast in the depths of a February cold snap.

Another fungi called Moreis, usually found in May, was growing in Woodchester Park, near Stroud, in the early spring.

Even more notable, he said, was a trip to Worcestershire in late June when he found not only the Autumn Ceps but a Saffron Milk Cap, which is regarded as a late October and November species.

"Equally surprising was the find of Chanterelles and Hedgehog Fungi," he said.

"We usually find Chanterelles from early autumn onwards in the Forest of Dean and in the Cotswolds, Hedgehog Fungi are late season visitors."

Mr Shorten said the fungi confusion could be the first sign of the effects of global warning in this country. But it may also be due to fungi losing their ability to detect seasonal change, he added.

Alternatively, he believes that the spring species of fungus could now be enjoying an extended season, lasting all the way into summer.
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Publication:The Birmingham Post (England)
Date:Jan 22, 1998
Words:300
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