Britain's bizarre and wonderful woodland nature including a Phallus 'Stinkhorn'

·2-min read

The Woodland Trust is issuing a call to action for people to help protect the weird and wonderful wildlife that inhabits the nation's woods.

Only 7% of woodlands in the country are in good ecological condition, a Woodland Trust report has shown.

The Trust has released images and details of at least ten examples of bizarre but beautiful wildlife living secretly among us, such as the beetle that sleeps in its own poo and a 'blood-oozing' fungus.

Alastair Hotchkiss, conservation adviser at the Woodland Trust, said: "Now more than ever before, with the climate change and biodiversity crises, do we need to protect and restore the UK's natural environments.

"These 10 species are just the tip of the iceberg - or the mushroom poking up from the soil's vast mycelial web - of secrets that our woodland habitats hold.

"Every species can tell us a story, everything has a role to play, and we have so much still to learn. We must do our best to make sure we don't lose them."

The list of weird and wonderful nature includes a beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica).

This "ecosystem engineer" looks like raw cut meat and oozes 'blood' when cut.

It also acts as a food supply for bugs and other fungi and makes a hole for nesting birds as it hollows out ancient trees.

Also listed is the Hazel pot beetle (Cryptocephalus coryli) that makes a cocoon out of its own dung. Once widespread, it now exists in just a few locations such as Nottinghamshire's Sherwood Forest.

Like its name, the Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus) is a phallic-shaped, pungent fungus.

Victorians would attack it with cudgels out of sheer embarrassment at the shape and appearance, but was also used as a cure for gout and as a love potion during medieval times.

Recent scientific research has pointed to a potential use in treating venous thrombosis (blood clots in the veins).

The Lesser horseshoe bat (Rhinolophus hipposideros) appears on the list. Roosting in caves, mines and stately homes located in wooded landscapes, it feasts on small moths, midges and mosquitos.

Other organisms on the list include the Goldeneye (Bucephala clangula), the String-of-sausages lichen (Usnea articulata), the Knothole yoke-moss (Zygodon forsteri), the Eagle's claw lichen (Anaptychia ciliaris), and the Wasp banded comb horn (Ctenophora flaveolata).