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is the name of the kingdom of Fungi.
It is a separate kingdom from the plant kingdom because fungi don't contain chlorophyll like green plants, fungi don't use photosynthesis.
Some fungi have to produce their food by breaking down organic matter, some take it directly from plants.
If fungi take down dead organic matter, they are called decomposers or saprophytes.
If fungi take from living plants, they are called parasites.
If fungi, especially in the edible and poisonous group, form a beneficial relationship with another plant, we call them mycorrhizal.
Mushroom at Bear Springs Blossom Nature Preserve in the Texas Hill Country
The body of the fungus is called mycelium or spawn and normally, one cannot see it.
What we see is the fruiting body, mostly called mushroom.
There is a wide variety of fruiting bodies, some with cap and gills, boletes with cap and pores, other look like sea corals, or like a sponge, or a brain.
Mushrooms can grow almost any time of the year, but enough rainfall is important.
This is an edible mushroom
These fungi live from decaying wood.
Fungi help to recycle natural materials!
Before you go out there and collect mushrooms, learn the identity of deadly species.
Members of the following genera contain the most highly toxic fungi:
Amanita, Galerina, Gyromitra, Clitocybe, Omphalotus, and Inocybe.
The genus Amanita includes the death cup = botanical name Amanita phalloides and the fly agaric = botanical name Amanita muscaria
Be aware of the false morel botanical name Gyromitra esculenta.
Members of the genus Galerina are responsible for the highest numbers of mushroom fatalities.
The chance of death from ingestion of members of the genera Amanita and Galerina is up to 90 %.
Even members of the genus Cortinarius are normally edible, there are reported cases of kidney failure.
So, be really careful - only collect mushrooms when you are absolutely sure you know the species!
Very often air pollution especially from nuclear power plants can be stored in mushrooms. In Europe radioactive material was found for decades in mushrooms after the explosion of the nuclear power-plant in Tschernobyl.
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