Rare fungus discovered in Scotland
- 13 January 2014
- From the section Edinburgh, Fife & East Scotland
A rare fungus has been discovered for the first time in Scotland, near a former war hospital in Edinburgh.
The fungi Clavulinopsis cinereoides is rarely seen in Europe.
Ecologist Abbie Patterson made the discovery on a lawn at Napier University's Craiglockhart Campus.
He was working on a contract to catalogue biodiversity amongst plants, birds, mammals, lichens and invertebrates for the university.
He told BBC Scotland he had come up with a "quirky theory" that soldiers' boots may have picked up spores while tramping the fields of Flanders.
During World War One the university campus site served as a military hospital where the war poets Wilfred Owen and Siegfried Sassoon were famously treated.
Mr Patterson said: "Looking at an old photograph of First World War officers standing on the grass banking where I found the fungi, my thoughts turned to the question of how the species arrived here at all.
"I thought of the soldiers' boots trampling the devastated fields of Flanders and perhaps picking up spores of C cinereoides and then depositing them on that grassy bank below the old Hydropathic."
However, he told the Good Morning Scotland radio programme his theory was not backed up by scientific evidence.
Head of the university contract, Jamie Pearson, said: "This discovery was most unexpected.
"The fungus has now been accepted and entered into the records as a first for Scotland and the specimen is now with the Royal Edinburgh Botanic Garden Herbarium and is the only specimen they have of this species."