What Is Fungi?

Fungi are incredibly old and evolved at sea some 700 million years before plants, then moving further onto land some 70 millions years before plants. The Fungi group consists of mushrooms, moulds and yeasts which have a nucleus just like plants and animals, distinguishes them from bacteria and archaea. Fungi require nutrients from dead organic matter, this is why they can be found in abundance in woodlands and are incredibly important for the ecosystem as they break down dying plant material and aid reducing the Earths carbon dioxide.   The Fungi are also incredibly important to human society, providing us with food, medicines and enzymes important to industry (where would we be without beer and bread).

Types of Fungi

The best known fungus are Mushrooms, springing to life in wet, cool and damp weathers, they’re usually found to have a stalk with a large cap top. There are many varieties of fungi estimated at over 5.1 million species with some being eabable and some toxic, and as there are so many different species and some look very similar picking your mushrooms from the woods without an expert is not advised.

Mould like mushrooms are very distinctive, and is more commonly found in someones fridge on that old piece of cheese or bread. They realese mould sporse for reproduction purposes and will develop spreading quickly.

Yeast is a common term for any unicellular fungus, yeast can exist with only one cell whereas the mushroom and mould have more.

It is thought there are 8 times more different species of Fungi than there are flowering plants in the UK. Therefore impossible to name them all or be able to identify.

This is why it is hugely important that before picking and harvesting any fungi from the wild you have found out from an expert that it is edible.

Agaricus Arvensis (horse mushroom)

Is a good soft edible mushroom

CalvatiaGigantea (giant puffball)

The largest fruit body of any fungus, which can get larger than a football and is edible.

LycoperdonPerlatum (common puffball)

It is edible however can easily be confused with another toxic variety, so best be safe and do not eat these.

Bracket Fungi

Usually appears in the dead timber on trees which it feeds off, this fungi is not the cause of the tree dying it is simply eating away the dead parts.

CoprinusComatus (shaggy ink cap)

These are found in wet grass areas and are edible

AuriculariaAuricul-judae (Jelly ear)

The Chinese love to eat this jelly eared mushroom