Friday, October 4, 2013

The Fungus Among Us

The other day I was walking about the lawn looking for a mushroom. It had rained a lot, so I figured that mushrooms should be sprouting all about. I nearly stepped on these little guys ... no larger than acorn caps.

Turns out, fungi come in all sizes and shapes, from what we think of as a "normal" mushroom - with stalk and cap - to things that look more like corals.

I could probably put this "coral fungi" in my small plastic aquarium and glue hang some paper fish from the top and fool my friends.

Fungi are not plants. In fact, they have their own kingdom. And one of the biggest questions is: how do I pronounce "fungi"?

Some folks (mostly those across the pond) say "fun-gee".  Most folks I know say "fun-guy" - as in: why would you invite a mushroom to your party? Because he's a fun guy! Others say "fun-ji".

Like icebergs, there's more to fungi than what you see. But I'll let the "naked scientist" explain, with her awesome sketchbook. Then, why not grab your own sketchbook and head out to see what fungi are lurking in your lawn?

This is part of STEM Friday. Check out the STEM Friday blog for book reviews and resources.