candelabra coral fungus


In Kent, an unusual species of fungus, Artomyces pyxidatus, commonly known as candelabra coral, has resurfaced.

Ecologist Rhianna Dix discovered this rare specimen during an exploration in Addington, while a volunteer from Kent Wildlife Trust had previously documented it in Hothfield Heathlands, Ashford, in 2021.

Recognised for its crown-like tips, the fungus was believed to be extinct in the UK until recent sightings.

The rediscovery occurred near West Malling when Dix and Mike Green from the London Fungus Network encountered the fungus growing on a tree stump in Addington.

“I didn’t recognise it at first,” he said. “I had two replies telling me it was the rare species.”

Previously absent from records in the 20th century, this species reappeared in the UK in 2012 in Suffolk.

The fungus, typically found in North America on decaying wood, raises questions about its presence in Kent, described as “a bit of a mystery” by Natasha Aidinyantz from Kent Wildlife Trust.

She said: “It’s always exciting to find a rare and unusual plant, animal or fungus in your home county, but what makes this particularly interesting is that we seem to have a pattern of distribution building in the east of England, starting in East Anglia and then making its way down to Kent and Sussex.

“But it just goes to show that nature doesn’t play by our rules, and that’s very much what is so beautiful about it.”

To further understand and document the rare find, the recent observation has been submitted to iRecord, and a sample has been sent to the Fungarium at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.

The emergence of the candelabra coral fungus in Kent adds a fascinating dimension to the study of fungi and biodiversity in the region.



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