FACT FRIDAY WEEK 7

Mushrooms! Autumn is the highlight of the mushroom season, which lasts from September to November.

These incredible life forms are neither plants nor animals - they belong to their very own kingdom called Fungi. In the UK, we have a whopping 15,000 species of wild fungi! (That’s far more than all the bird, mammal and fish species combined.)

With such a huge number of species, it’s not surprising that mushrooms come in a massive variety of sizes, shapes and colours! Swipe across to see some of this biodiversity!

They can be as large as a dinner plate or even teenier than your fingernail. While some are edible, many mushrooms are very poisonous, so it’s safest to enjoy looking without touching or ingesting them.

 

If you want to forage for the edible species, please make sure you are 100% certain - it’s best to learn from an expert first. One of the most iconic mushroom species is fly agaric, which looks like it belongs in fairyland - until you learn that it is highly toxic! 

A common misunderstanding is the difference between mushrooms and fungi. Mushrooms are the fruiting body of a certain group of fungi (similar to how apples are the fruit of an apple tree).

 

Fungi, however, is a whole kingdom of life forms which includes moulds, yeast, mildew and of course, mushrooms. So while every mushroom is a fungi, not every fungi is a mushroom. It’s similar to how every fruit comes from a plant or tree, but not every plant or tree has fruit.

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