Fungi are fantastic








Now that we’ve had some good rainfall totals, fungi have popped up just about everywhere. Different fungi species prefer to grow in different places – some grow out of the ground, others on dead wood and some even on the branches and trunks of living trees.

And the different species look different to each other, too. Some have caps like the mushrooms you can buy from the shops. Others grow as brackets that look like a shelf growing out of logs. Some look like antlers or even blobs of gloop.

But whatever they look like, they all have a job to do in the environment. Most fungi that you see in the bush have the job description of decomposer. As they grow and feed on dead wood or leaves, they break these materials down into smaller and smaller pieces. The smaller pieces of dead plant material may be eaten by invertebrates who then poo out even smaller pieces.

Eventually the dead wood has been broken down into pieces small enough that plant roots can extract the nutrients that help them grow. So, what was once a piece of wood lying on the ground, is now food for the next generation of trees. It is important to leave all dead wood in the bushland as this is what feeds, with the help of fungi, the living plants.