Fungi are neither plants nor animals.
Fungi are amongst the largest of living organisms. In the USA one individual fungus growing in soil was estimated to weigh 110 tonnes taking up hundreds of hectares.
In Australia there are many times more fungi than plants.
The only attempt at a complete ‘flora’ of all known Australian fungi was published in 1892 by M.C. Cooke. He never once visited Australia.
To this day only about 10% of Australia’s fungi have been discovered and named.
Many of our fungi are unique to Australia – such as 95% of our truffle species.
In 1800 the Starfish Stinkhorn was the first Australian fungus to be named. 29 years later it was found in a glasshouse at Kew, England on soil imported from Australia.
The red and white fairytale mushroom has been introduced into Australia but not yet confirmed in Western Australia. It will get there, if not already awaiting discovery ….
Fungi can be specific about where they live … Orange Moss Cap thrives only in moist mossy spots, Dusky Helmet is restricted to lawns and gardens, and Dung Buttons occur on kangaroo poo.
Fungi explore and exploit the soil, efficiently capturing, transporting and re-cycling nutrients.
Fungi contribute to healthy bushlands by linking together plants and animals.
Fungi form beneficial partnerships with many plants such as gums, wattles and orchids.
Assorted native truffles are the favourite diet of marsupials such as potoroos, woylies and bandicoots.
Myriads of insects like fungi too.
No wonder more bushland managers are finding out how to recognise and nurture fungi along-side plants and animals.