The mushroom with no name

A rare species of mushroom discovered growing in Scotland by researchers at The James Hutton Institute has been chosen to feature in a nationwide competition to give it a name.

Xerocomus bubalinus is very similar in appearance to the more common and well known porcini mushroom used in cooking, but until now has only been known to a few experts and has never been given a common name. This is about to change with the launch of a competition organised by Natural England in partnership with the Guardian. ‘Name a Species’ aims not only to raise awareness of rare species but allow entrants to become part of scientific history.

Xerocomus bubalinus was only described for the first time in 1991 in the Netherlands and it had not been recorded in Scotland before it was discovered growing near a lime tree in Aberdeen’s Albyn Place by Dr Andy Taylor as he walked home from work.

Dr Taylor, a Molecular Fungal Ecologist at The James Hutton Institute works to improve the wider understanding of Scottish fungi and was delighted to be asked to provide a photo of the mushroom for the competition. “This competition is a great way of raising awareness of fungal biodiversity. Giving rare species a common name is an effective way of increasing public appreciation of fungi with the ultimate aim of protecting them from extinction."

For more information and to enter the competition, visit the Guardian website.

Published on 10 June 2011 in Ecosystems and biodiversity