Whilst considering how like mankind, mushrooms as a species have successfully populated the planet, I decided to discover some further mushroom facts, to better understand the good they do for the world.
- Mushrooms are fungi, with their own category of being and are actually more similar to humans than plants (part of the Opisthokonta kingdom).
- Penicillin is made from the blue mould, penicillium which is a type of fungi.
- Fungi is used to make cheese as well as helping bread to rise.
- Fungi recycle organic matter, turning it into rich soil. If it were not for fungi, our planet would be buried in several feet of debris and life on the planet would disappear.
- Mushrooms are now being ‘taught’ to decompose materials that do not decompose so well on their own, such as plastics and cigarette butts. This may mean that we can begin to heal the planet from our waste using fewer chemicals in the process.
- The oldest known mushroom found in amber is from 90 million years go. The oldest know fossilised mushroom has been dated back to 420 million years ago. Standing, it would have been 30 feet high and would have been the tallest organism on the ground at that time!
- Some of the oldest living mushroom colonies are fairy rings growing around Stonehenge. The rings are so large that they can be seen from aeroplanes!
- You can use mushrooms to make dyes.
- Like plants, many Fungi grow towards the light, but scientists do not yet know how fungi harness the light.
- The spores of mushrooms are made of chitin, the hardest naturally made substance on Earth. Some scientists believe that these spores are so strong, they are capable of space travel and a few believe that fungi did originally come from outer space.
- In the right conditions, some fungi’s spores can sit dormant for decades or even up to a century and still then grow.
- Fungi have over 28,000 sexes, that encourage diversity.
- Some believe that as apes, we gained consciousness through consuming fungi.
It is astonishing how beneficial fungi are for the Earth and for us as a species. In contrast, humans could be viewed as destructive and as a parasite. This juxtaposition between the two, intrigues me.