What is a mushroom?
Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of certain fungi—the equivalent of the apple, not of the tree. Fungi, including those which produce mushrooms, are not plants; they are related to molds, mildews, rusts, smuts, and yeasts, and are classified in the Fungi Kingdom.
MUSHROOM: a structure, produced by a fungus, that is large enough to be visible to the naked eye and has as its primary function the production of sexual reproductive spores.
The Kingdom Fungi includes some of the most important organisms, with ecological and economic roles. They continue the cycle of nutrients through ecosystems by breaking down dead organic material. This process is known as decomposition and they are known as decomposers. In addition, most vascular plants could not grow without the symbiotic fungi, or mycorrhizae, that inhabit their roots and supply essential nutrients. Other fungi provide numerous drugs (such as penicillin and other antibiotics), foods like mushrooms, truffles and morels, and the bubbles in bread and alcohol drinks.
Fungi also cause a number of plant and animal diseases: in humans, ringworm, athlete's foot, and several more serious diseases are caused by fungi. Because fungi are more chemically and genetically similar to animals than other organisms, this makes fungal diseases very difficult to treat. Plant diseases caused by fungi include rusts, smuts, and leaf, root, and stem rots, and may cause severe damage to crops. However, a number of fungi, in particular the yeasts, are important "model organisms" for studying problems in genetics and molecular biology.
Photos of mushrooms
I have several photos of mushrooms from several places in Malaysia that being taken various during my outdoor activities.
Mushrooms of Tanjung Tuan Forest Reserve (16 March 2008)
to be continued....