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In Nature the small stuff matters! When we really start to notice the little things, a whole new world opens up to us. Mosses, lichens and fungi are often overlooked but without them our lives would not be the same! Find out here about the importance of some often overlooked species and habitats. Next time you are out and about why not take a closer look?!

Wrapped tightly around a tree, the bark is its protective covering. Just underneath the bark are the delicate vessels that transport food and
water through the trunk to the roots and leaves.

Ferns are ancient plants and fossil ferns have been found in rocks over 300 million years old. Dead ferns helped make coal and oil - millions of years ago they became buried underground and very gradually turned to coal under the immense pressure of the Earth.

It is often overlooked today but ivy helps lots of our local wildlife, especially during the long months of winter. It flowers in early autumn,and the ivy’s nectar is a valuable food source for many insects before the winter, particularly bees and butterflies.

Easy to overlook, lichens are made up of two tiny living things: a fungus and an alga or cyanobacteria. They help each other out – the alga or cyanobacteria produces food, and the fungus gathers water and protects the alga.

Mosses are remarkable. They are the oldest land plants on Earth, and have been around for 400 million years or more - well before dinosaurs existed!

The soil beneath our feet is an incredible, living world - most of it invisible to the eye. Making up the outermost layer of our planet, soil is formed from rock that has been broken down over thousands of years and organic matter made up of decaying plants and animals.

Wet Woodlands are damp and mysterious. Alder, birch and willows are common trees found in wet woodland. They can grow in places where they don’t mind getting their feet wet!

Lawns can provide space for us to relax and be good for wildlife. We can help wildlife by allowing some grass to grow in small areas, reducing the number of times we mow and adjusting the height of mower blade. Daisies, dandelions and clover, which can appear if grass is left to grow, are all important for pollinators.

Nature’s recyclers, fungi help ensure that nutrients from dead plants and animals can be reused by plants growing in the soil. Usually hidden in soil or wood, a fungus is made up of a web of tiny threads that absorb food from the surroundings.

Waxcaps have been called the orchids of the fungi world because of their amazing colours - from pink and red to yellow and green. Why do they have these colours – this is one of the many mysteries about these beautiful fungi. They are called waxcaps because of their shiny, waxy or sticky caps. Wales is internationally important for waxcaps.

Page updated on: 03/05/2016

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