Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Bibliophilia: Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms by Eugenia Bone

Mycophilia: Revelations from the Weird World of Mushrooms – Eugenia Bone

More personal narrative about the authors journey through the many facets of mushroom culture, rather than a dense treatise on mycology. Might be considered a bit light by some peoples standards, but lots of fun facts, and it reinforced why I dig mushrooms so much. (1.5 million species of funghi, second only to insects in number and diversity, and only 5% have been identified. Funghi outnumber plants by a ratio of 6:1 and make up 25% of Earth’s biomass. The biggest single living organism on Earth is a 2200 acre fungus, weighing 6,286 tons in the Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon. The first terrestrial  creatures may have been fungi, and they are more closely related to us, evolutionarily speaking than they are to plants. We inhale 1 to 10 spores per breath, as many as 300,000 per day. They live on every surface, in every organism to some degree or other, and some can theoretically live for ever. They function as a shadow immune system for all plants, a shadow digestive system for trees. Mushroom cell walls are made of chitin, the same stuff crab shells are made from, and allow mushrooms to push their way through asphalt.)

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