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.
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.
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!