South West Wales

Rare smelly fungus found in Gower

The Latticed Stinkhorn or Red Cage
Image caption The smell of rotting flesh makes the fungus attractive to flies

A rare foul smelling fungus with an odour of 'rotting flesh' has been found in a Gower nature reserve.

The Latticed Stinkhorn or Red Cage has erupted in a blaze of colour at Bishop's Wood near Caswell Bay.

It has been known to show up in coastal areas of southern England but Swansea council biodiversity officers believe it is the first recorded one in Wales.

Native to warmer Mediterranean countries the nearest recorded sighting to date is in Somerset.

It is still regarded as an alien species in the UK but there have been sightings in the West Country and Channel Islands.

The Association of British Fungus Groups is not aware of one being found in Wales before.

It said the tiny spores could have been carried on the wind or possibly by birds.

What has stopped it growing in the UK before is the summers have not been long enough or warm enough for it to survive.

Bishop's Wood, near Caswell Bay car park, was declared a local nature reserve in 1975.

Jo Mullett, Swansea council's biodiversity education officer, said: "It's quite an exciting find.

"The reserve is protected because of its priority species and habitats.

"The fact that the reserve is now the first site in Wales to record an example of the Latticed Stinkhorn makes it even more special."

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