London - (Rotters): The legendary St George's Day Mushroom (Calocybe gambosa) has been spotted growing under a Weeping Korean Blue Pine (Pinus PyongYang Mutatis Bwa-ha-ha) on a Buckingham Palace lawn sending shivers of dread among superstitious royal protection staff.
The mycological omen last appeared growing under a Whitehall Poplar in 1649 a few days before the feckless King Charles 1 was executed for treason on scaffolding erected outside the Banqueting House.
A Teutonic variant cultivar was also spotted growing in the grounds of Spandau Prison on the day that Rudolf Hess was found dead, mysteriously choked to death on an unidentified tasty morsel in the jail's Elizabeth Bowes-Lyon Memorial Summer House.
And the day that Rolling Stone Brian Jones Stones was fished out of his East Sussex swimming pool a whole batch of dried St George's Day mushrooms was found half-smoked in the musician's bedroom hookah.
The fungus' troubled hystery and folklore associations are clearly bothering Palace staff for whom superstition is like fags and lager to the proles.
Less deadly than its genus cousins the highly poisonous Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa Princess Diana), the Death Cap (Amanita Phalloides Kate Middleton) and the ultimate puffball nasty the Fly Agaric (Amanita Muscari Camilla Parker-Bowles) the St George's Day mushroom nevertheless guarantees a horrible toxic death to anybody so much as nibbling at it in, say, a St George's Day Buckingham Palace breakfast omlette.
A cursory glance at Wednesday 23 April's St George's Day menu at Windsor Castle reveals the roots of Palace staff panic.
Prince Philip is 89.