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This autumn, help us find the Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
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Read in: EnglishCymraeg
This autumn, help Plantlife find Britain’s most colourful and important fungi – waxcaps.
Britain is home to some of the most important waxcap grasslands in the world. However many species are becoming rare and declining; they need identifying and protecting.
Waxcaps are an indicator of rare, species-rich grassland. Knowing where waxcaps and other grassland fungi are thriving helps us pinpoint where fragments of ancient meadows survive, so we can protect them for the future.
Not just important for the hundreds of wildflowers they can be home to, these ancient grasslands are also crucial in the fight against climate change. Species-rich grassland can store up to a third more carbon than areas with just a few species.
It’s easy for anyone in England, Scotland and Wales to take part in the Waxcap Watch – all you need is a smart phone or access to a computer!
Click through the instructions below to guide you from start to finish.
Alternatively, after you click the link above and select ‘Open in browser’, you can launch the survey in your web browser without having to download Survey123 app.
After you submit your first survey, the next time you open the Survey123 app click on the WaxcApp icon (red waxcap with Plantlife logo) and then ‘Collect’ to fill out another survey.
Visit a field, park, road verge, pasture, heathland, dune or cemetery; in fact, you can visit any grassy area which is open to the public, or for which you have the landowner’s explicit permission, between September and late November when waxcaps look their best.
They can be found growing in:
The easiest way to search an area for waxcaps is to walk in a zig-zag pattern at a slow pace, as some of the mushrooms are only a few centimetres tall!
Use the app to complete a few questions about the place you are visiting and to record which colours of waxcaps and grassland fungi you can see.
There is no restriction on the number of surveys you do – the more the better as this will help build a picture of what can be found at your site throughout the fungus season. Different fungi will come and go as the months change. Some fungi are visible only for a few days or weeks at each time.
Learn more about waxcaps with experts from our Dynamic Dunescapes site in Kenfig, Wales.
Take your waxcap knowledge to the next level with our training course, suitable for keen fungi finders and land owners.
Watch as Plantlife fungi expert Sarah Shuttleworth records her first waxcap find on the Waxcap Watch app.
A group dedicated to those taking part in Plantlife's Waxcap Watch, to share knowledge and photos of waxcaps and related species.
Discover how Plantlife is working to create positive change for grasslands in Wales, and how you can get involved with the project.
By taking a part in our survey you will help us to:
Much of this app is based on the work by Gareth Griffith, John Bratton and Gary Easton. Original publication: Griffith, G.W., Bratton, J.H. & Easton, G. (2004) Charismatic megafungi; the conservation of waxcap grasslands. British Wildlife. October 2004, pp 31-43.
You are responsible for your own health and safety; Plantlife do not accept any liability or responsibility for the wellbeing of surveyors. Similarly, they do not accept any liability or responsibility for damage to, or loss of, personal property.
We always recommend visiting sites and undertaking surveys with someone else and taking the following precautions:
– Check the forecast and make appropriate arrangements. If the weather changes you may need to rethink your plans.– Take care on uneven or slippery ground and keep to footpaths where necessary.– Take a mobile phone and let someone know where you are going and when you expect to return.– Most fungi are non-toxic; even toxic ones are safe to hold. However, always wash your hands after handling fungi.
England and Wales
Grassland fungi can be found across a variety of different sites, many of which are publicly accessible, such as playing fields, parks or cemeteries. Where there is no open access, keep to public rights of way (footpaths and bridleways). If you plan to carry out a survey on private land, please make sure you obtain the landowner’s permission to access the site.
Make sure you follow the Scottish Outdoor Access Code when carrying out this activity.
Share your waxcap finds with us on social media using the hashtag #WaxcapWatch
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