Friday, 12 February 2010

The Magical World of Mushrooms


"For centuries it has been customary to classify the living world into two main kingdoms, animal and vegetable, and, until comparatively recent times, it seemed obvious to include fungi in the latter category. However, lacking the pigment known as chlorophyll, which is contained in green plants, fungi are unable to make use of the sun's energy to build up carbohydrates from which a plant is formed. Instead, like animals, they obtain their energy through the breakdown of organic matter. Further, the hard parts of fungi are closer to the chitin which forms the casing of insects, than to lignin, which forms the hard parts of plants. A third category, the fungal kingdom, has had to be created to house these extraordinary organisms."
This is what I found out when I started reading the 'Green Guide to Mushrooms and Toadstools of Britain and Europe', by Gordon Dickson. It seems that if mushrooms were not attached they could be wreaking all sorts of havoc. I was fascinated by the common names. 'Witches' Butter' is my favourite! I love 'The Deceiver' too, and 'Poison Pie'. I find it slightly creepy that the hard parts are made from the same stuff as insects' hard parts.




7 comments:

parallel-botany said...

Hmmm, sounds a little like "parallel botany" to me...

:D

I've always been particularly fond of "destroying angel."

Sonia ;) said...

That is such a cool picture ..love mushrooms

xoxoxoxox

kj said...

sarah, this made me laugh!! would i eat a mushroom named 'deceit' if i knew its name in advance? hee hee

now you've got me thinking of names: naughty mushroom, by the light of the moon mushroom....

Sarah said...

Oh yes! It is parallel botany!
Thanks Sonia!
Now I am thinking of new names for mushrooms Kj!

Lynne said...

How very interesting. A classification all of their own. Who knew they had so many names.

chrome3d said...

The mushrooms have the coolest name of them all. Poison Pie must be fascinating.

ADonald466 said...

I wish I hadn't spotted 'jelly babies' - now I'll worry next time I bite the head off one it is a mushroom in disguise!!