Fungus. What a nasty sounding word. However, the Cornell Mushroom Blog tells us all about fungus and it's actually quite interesting. Kathie T. Hodge, the editor, admits that most people don't really notice mushrooms, molds, yeasts, and mildew. At Cornell they want you to learn to love fungus as much as they do. They wish that you too will be able to "tell gross stories at the dinner table".
Now I will begin by telling you that this blog is not updated as often as I would like, but it certainly makes up for that in content. The pictures are fantastic and the stories and descriptions are excellent. On the front page alone, there is a big variety of fungus to read about. There is a disclaimer at the bottom of the page that states "Psst! Please don't use images on this blog to decide whether a mushroom is edible." This is very good advice.
The first page I had to connect to is the not fungi link. There you can find examples of things that are not fungus. They may be thought of as such, but eliminated none the less. A tribute to Carl Sagan is available here. He's not fungi.
Under the heading of mushroom poisoning is a link to a story by Richard Eshelman relating his near-death experience after ingesting the destroying angel mushroom. It is a truly scary tale. Besides not picking and eating mushrooms I don't positively identify, I now know that food poisoning is not something to be trifled with. Please read this if you read nothing else on this site.
Not all fungus is bad. As a matter of fact some is quite useful. It has been used in sacred rituals and in artwork. It makes excellent bread. They can even grow it as packing material that is different than the petroleum-based materials more commonly used.
There is a war going on between insects and fungus. Scientists are finding that fungi eliminate some insects in much the same way as a human immune system eliminates some diseases. Cold-blooded insects have to induce a fever by becoming overactive in order to fight fungal infections. This is a good defense against insects for plants that have the fungus in the first place.
I never thought about fungus much before. I have to say that I am now fascinated by the many types and the studies they are doing at Cornell. I believe you will like this site too. After looking through the Cornell Mushroom Blog by clicking the link below, please leave a message and tell them Emma sent you.
Cornell Mushroom Blog
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