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Fungi: undervalued jewels of the urban jungle

Just metres from some of Britain’s busiest roads, micro-forests of fungi sprout from the undergrowth. Mycologist Dr 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.'

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Every year, more people are reading our articles to learn about the challenges facing the natural world. Our future depends on nature, but we are not doing enough to protect our life support system.  

British wildlife is under threat. The animals and plants that make our island unique are facing a fight to survive. Hedgehog habitats are disappearing, porpoises are choking on plastic and ancient woodlands are being paved over. 

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