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Growing on the ground under a large old beech tree is not where I’d usually expect to see ‘ears’ but there they were. Admittedly, I did initially think these were a species of cup fungus, and it wasn’t until I was looking more closely at my photos that I realised the cups had a split down the side, which indicates they are not cups but ‘ears’, one of the Otidea species.

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There are several species of Otidea growing in Britain: the two most common in Wales are Hare’s ear (Otidea onotica) and Tan ear (Otidea alutacea) but neither have been recorded in the Cardiff area. Though my finds look a little different from the usual Hare’s ear fungi, I suspect that, as mine were growing under Beech, they probably are Hare’s ears but they really need microscopic analysis to be certain.

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Despite not being able to positively identify these ‘ears’, I was absolutely delighted to have my first sighting of them, though it did make me wish my knees were younger and I was better able to get down on the ground to properly enjoy and photograph them!

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