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Fungi & Friends

Marden is teaming with countless fungi and non-flowering plants. Those with a common name, such as shaggy parasol, ink cap or fly agaric are readily identified from a basic handbook and are generally widespread in most habitats. The great majority of them, however, are known only by their scientific name.

Fungi spend most of the year as almost invisible fine threads (hyphae making up a mycelium) underground or penetrating rotting wood. When environmental factors are right for them, they produce fruiting bodies which is what we see. Typically, as with most toadstools these only last a few days and the rest of the year there is no sign that the fungus is there, or with some species it may be many years later before more fruiting bodies are produced again.

Well over 90% of all conifers and flowering plants rely on a close relationship (mycorrhiza) between fungi in the soil and their own roots to provide the minerals and even the water they need to survive. In return the plant provides carbohydrates made by photosynthesis.

So, the popular garden perception that all fungi are like Honey Fungus Armillaria mellea which exist to attack and kill plants is quite wrong. Other species play a vital role in breaking down plant material and recycling the nutrients.

Most species of fungi are either Basidiomycetes or Ascomycetes. There are around 4500 Basidiomycetes and over 7000 Ascomycetes recorded for Britain. Most of the Ascomycetes have fruit bodies less  than 1cm diameter and most of the Basidiomycetes have fruit bodies larger than this. Many of these fungal fruit bodies, like a lot of birds, are known as ‘little brown jobs’ and typically difficult to identify, but there are plenty of common species that are spectacular and readily identified once you become experienced, like the Fly Agaric Amanita muscaria.

Currently, fungal recording in Marden is in its early days compared to vascular plants or birds, with around 100 species named. If you find a fungus ideally leave it for others to enjoy; most people will find them striking even if they have no idea of their name.

A photograph of both the upper and under surfaces is a useful starting point to try and name it and serves as a record of the find. If you post your photos on our Marden Wildlife Facebook page, one of our specialists should be able to identify it for you. It may well be that around the same time the following year, you will find the fruiting bodies back – perhaps in increasing or decreasing numbers.

Because field mycology is a comparatively new science compared to botany, there is much the citizen scientist can discover.


Fauna and Flora

We have generically grouped all our Fauna and Flora and know that these groupings aren't always perfectly correct, but this has been done to make it simple to get an idea of the variety of species we have in our parish. We do not expect this website to be used as an encyclopaedia. 


Our unique environment allows a great variety of species

Reptiles & Amphibians & Mammals

You'll be surprise what's we have in the area


Great variety of moths, butterflies, dragonflies and more


Without these Trees and Plants would not survive

Orchids & Flowers

Such a diverse amount of flowers in different environments

Trees and what comes with them

Trees create homes for many different elements of wildlife

We work with

Kent Wildlife Trust
Making Space for Nature
Botanical Society of Britain & Ireland