On a mushroom-hunting excursion in Eskebjerd Vesterlyng in Zealand in 2009, Jacob Heilman-Clausen from the University of Copenhagen was handed a fungus he didn’t recognise.
Now, after three years of extensive expert research, the fungus has officially been classified as a new species.
The fungus, whose official name is Hebelomagriseopruinatum, meaning ‘the grey-dewy tear leaf’, has been previously sighted in both Germany and England, but had never been officially documented before being found in Denmark.
“We regularly discover a species never previously seen in Denmark, but it is quite extraordinary when a Danish fungus is described as new to the world,” Heilman-Clausen, who works at the Centre for Macroecology, Evolution and Climate at the Department of Biology, told media.
Hold off on that ‘tear leaf pasta’ recipe though, as this particular fungus joins the ranks of toxic fungi like Amanitas and False Morels.
“Edible fungi are very popular in Denmark, but only a few people realise that fungi serve important functions in nature,” continued Heilman-Clausen.
“They degrade dead material and ensure that nutrients are circulated around the system. And yet we still know very little about how many fungal species exist worldwide. Even in Denmark, there are still many discoveries like this waiting to be made.”