Don’t they remind you of little witch’s mandrakes?
by Stephen Luntz
“It’s amazing what is right under our noses without being noticed. A species of mushroom that can look remarkably like stick-figure humans has been discovered, and far from being in some sparsely inhabited jungle, they were found by a road in England
Jonathan Revett has a hobby for collecting mushrooms, which he tracks on his fenfungi website. In 2000, he noticed some specimens with an unusual shape by a roadside in Norfolk. While Revett recognized the specimens as being a type of Earthstar mushroom, he doubted they were Rayed Earthstars, the most similar species.
It took many years after his sending samples to be checked, but Revett’s hunch has been confirmed. This is a new species, named Geastrum britannicum, that was identified in Persoonia as part of a DNA analysis to establish the relationships between the variety of related Earthstar species.
The paper identifies seven new species, but G. britannicum’s distinctive shape makes it stand out (sorry, not sorry) from the common mushroom herd. In Field Mycology, the authors report that G. britannicum is “surprisingly common,” having been found at 15 locations across southern Britain…”
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