Fungi: undervalued jewels of the urban jungle

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Just metres from some of Britain’s busiest roads, micro-forests of fungi sprout from the undergrowth. Museum mycologist Mark Spencer pinpoints some striking examples he spotted in central London and explains their vital ecological role.

Autumn is the best time to look for fungi, as it's when most produce their visible fruiting body. But more than 12,000 species live around the UK and plenty of them fruit in other seasons.

Important: Some fungi are extremely poisonous. If you are thinking about eating fungi, you need to be absolutely sure they are safe.

‘Make sure you get expert advice,' advises Mark, 'and join a local group of forayers to build up your experience.'