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‘WORLD’S UGLIEST ORCHID TOPS LIST OF NEW DISCOVERIES

2 months ago | World Science & Technology News | 0 comments

By Xai Reyes

The “ugliest orchid in the world” and British mushrooms are among a list of new species named by scientists at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, and their collaborators in 2020.

Experts say the “weird and wonderful” plants and fungi highlight the incredible diversity of species still to be found and documented.

A third of the new species are orchids.

But scientists were surprised to find six new British toadstools, including one growing near Heathrow Airport.

The most unlikely discovery was a toadstool growing among trees beside a reservoir at Heathrow Airport, which was found by fungi expert Andy Overall.

Experts at Kew examined the specimen, and DNA studies later confirmed that it was new to science.

He has named the toadstool, Cortinarius heatherae, after his wife Heather.

Two more species were found in England, one at Devil’s Dyke in Sussex and the other in woods near Barrow-in-Furness.

Three new Scottish species were also identified; one at Caithness in the Highlands and two in the Black Wood of Rannoch.

All six species belong to a prolific group of fungi, known as web caps because they are covered by a cap of threads resembling spiders’ webs.

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