|Fly Agaric's and dewy cobwebs on a misty morning|
|A fungi cluster on a stump at Silton Forest|
|Puffballs at Silton Forest|
I've also found out how big they can be, probably the biggest living organism on earth - a 2,384 acre area of a Honey Fungus Mycelium was found in Oregon, USA. It's estimated that it was 1,665 football fields large! That's a lot of mushroom!
|Breaking down a log...|
One was found to be 440 million years old! It was found fossilised and has been said to have 'kick started life of Earth' because it filled a gap of evolution by beginning to rot and break down the soil so that other plants could grow and so that the animals could come out of the sea and feed on these plants.
People have said it filled a gap and that around the time it existed pretty much all life was confined to the sea, apart from this. This fungi provides evidence that plants had colonised the land before any animals had left the sea.
This fungi is called Tortotubus and since they have mycelium that carries the nutrients around to the other parts of the fungi, the ground around it got some nutrients helping the Earth to become the lush green environment it is today.
|A candelabra or coral fungus.|
I've talked about how ancient some forms of fungi are, but age is a different thing. Pretty much everyone knows about fairy rings, circles of mushrooms with a bit of mythology thrown over them. But what you might not know is that the bigger the circles are, the older it is! Fairy rings start as a spore and the mycelium grows out from this original spot. When they fruit, that is when we see the mushrooms and toadstools, you can see the area the mycelium covers. The older the fungus the further the mycelium spreads.
Remember the fungus I mentioned earlier, the one that covers 2,384 acres, well to get that big it must be at least 2.400 years old! It could be much older though and scientists think it might be as much as 8,650 years old!
So, that's altogether pretty amazing. They are the largest, probably the oldest (certainly one of the oldest) living things on earth and the first living organisms to populate dry land and without them we probably wouldn't exist!
|Fungi can be amazing colours as well as everything else!|
Here are some links to some more information:
Scientific American - the largest organism on earth is a fungus
The Telegraph - Meet the 440-million-year-old Scottish fungus which kick-started the human race
Hope you enjoyed,