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Oak polypore

Oak polypore by Steve AylwardOak polypore by Steve Aylward

Buglossoporus pulvinus

The oak polypore is classified as Endangered in Britain and is specially protected under Schedule 8 of the Wildlife and Countryside Act 1981. Loss of woodland habitat and changes in agricultural practices are the main reasons for its scarcity.

In Britain this rare fungus has only been recorded in six counties and has become extinct through most of its European range. In Suffolk it can be found in Staverton Park and in the Suffolk Wildlife Trust reserve at Captain’s Wood near Sudbourne. England is the global stronghold of this species.

Its fruit bodies appear during the summer, but don’t last long, which makes monitoring the species difficult. It is a heartwood rotting species that requires exposed, seasoned wood of mature or dead veteran oak trees. It is restricted to medieval forests, deer parks and wood pasture habitat due to the need for a long continuity of mature oak.

The stem-less bracket-like fruit bodies have a smooth upper surface, which feels velvety when young. As the fruit body matures, pores develop on the underside and the colour changes from white to pale-yellow and then brown with a white border in mature specimens.

At Captains Wood, the Trust’s first priority for conservation is to safeguard the veteran trees in the woodland and to manage the wood pasture habitat. New generation oaks are being planted from acorns that have been gathered from within the woodland to ensure habitat and genetic continuity.