Tuesday 27 October 2015

Fungus fetish ...

It's been a good autumn for Fungi down here in the not-always-so-sunny South West of England.

Yesterday morning I spent a happy hour out in the garden taking macro shots of all the fungal goodness nestling in the grass. Now I'd be lying if I pretended to know the names of these beauties - or, even more importantly, whether I can eat them without poisoning myself. So it's probably just as well that my interaction with them remained one that was channelled exclusively through the lens of my camera ...

Now here's an amazing thing about Fungi: they're not plants! Yikes! If I tell that to my son, Emi, he'll be wanting one as a pet to keep Swampy, his Venus Fly Trap plant, company. Apparently this group of organisms are much more closely related to animals than plants. They simply got assigned to the plant group because they don't move.

The thing is, you see, plants have this habit of making their own food - photosynthesis and all that. Fungi, on the other hand, are said to be like miniature, inside-out versions of our own stomachs. Charming! They eat by releasing enzymes, which break down nutrients in the environment around them into small enough particles for reabsorption back into their bodies.

And the principal draw-back of this modus operandi is that they have to live in or on their food, which probably explains why I scored my best hit-rate looking for them around old tree stumps. 

And, in the process of having dinner, they help tidy up the environment by breaking down decaying organic material. 

And, of course, if you know which ones are edible they're very nice sautéed in butter with just a smidgeon of garlic to taste. 

All the best for now,

Bonny x

1 comment:

  1. I had no idea mushrooms were more closely related to animals than plants. I guess I never thought about it before. All I do know is that they are photogenic. You have some great shots. :)