Have you ever looked closely at a mushroom? And do you know that forests need fungi to grow, and that fungi are essential for cycling nutrients in nature?
Autumn at Callicoma Hill in the northern mountains of the Hunter Valley is perfect for fungi fruiting in the forest. Cool and moist conditions this year have been ideal for seeing many different types of these fascinating organisms.
Fungi come in amazing shapes, sizes and types. Here are some interesting facts to know about fungi:
- Fungi are neither plants nor animals, and have their own kingdom. They are more closely related to animals than plants
- They gain nutrients by absorption rather than ingestion, and digest food by secreting enzymes
- There are filamentous fungi with extensive networks of very thin hyphae, and also single celled fungi such as yeasts
- More than 90% of fungi species are currently estimated to be unknown to science
- Fungi are largely unseen and grow in different substrata in many different forms. They are normally observed when fruiting and tend to reproduce by spores
- They are the second most diverse major group of organisms on Earth after arthropods
- Fungi hyphae connect plants and transfer nutrients between plants and throughout whole forest ecosystems