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I was over the moon when I spotted this first little burst of peachiness growing on an old, ivy-smothered log a week ago.

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Why? Because this is one of the few fungi I can positively identify by sight, and it’s quite the rarity in most parts of Britain these days because it grows on Elm, a tree that is itself increasingly rare in Britain nowadays. According to the Forest Research website, 60 million Elm trees have been killed by Dutch Elm disease since it was first discovered in Britain in the 1920s, the majority of those dying since the 1970s.

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This fungus is the wonderfully named Wrinkled peach (Rhodotus palmatus). Rhodotus comes from the Ancient Greek Rhodon, meaning rose, and palmatus is Latin and means ‘shaped like a hand’, presumably a reference to the surface texture of the fungus’s cap resembling the lines on the palm of a hand.

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Incredibly, I found nine of these fungi on two different logs, and then, on a subsequent visit, found another one growing on a log a few metres away. Presumably the logs are the remains of an Elm that was cut down when Dutch Elm disease was at its height.

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As you can see from my photos, the fungi range from the very young and fresh to the aging and wrinkled and decaying. Wrinkled peach, when seen at all, is usually found between July and November, so I have a few more weeks yet to enjoy these little beauties.

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