Rare fungus is found in ancient Belfast oak tree
One of the UK's rarest fungi has been found in Northern Ireland for the first time – growing on an ancient oak tree in Belfast.
The bracket fungus, known as oak polypore (Piptoporus quercinus), is in decline across central Europe and is already extinct in many parts of northern Europe, but has been found at Belvoir Park Forest in south Belfast by the Woodland Trust.
The fungus is only found in old oak trees and is considered endangered in the UK where records are extremely scarce. The one hosting the fungus in Belfast may be the oldest tree in Northern Ireland, the Woodland Trust says.
Jill Butler, conservation adviser with the Woodland Trust, made the discovery at the Forest Service site this summer. It has now been verified by Dr Roy Anderson of the Northern Ireland Fungus Group.
"This is an absolutely fantastic find – a first for Northern Ireland," Jill said.
"It's fitting that it was found at Belvoir Park Forest. And this particular one, estimated to be around 500 years old and completely hollow inside, is possibly the oldest tree in Northern Ireland."