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Finding Fungi

Hearing that the nights are ‘fair drawing in’ is as predictable at this time of year as the leaves fluttering down or the sweet sound of geese above our head, but on the woodland floor something just as amazing becomes apparent. Fungi seems to be everywhere, but why is there so much of it at this time of year? Well, with so many leaves and dead vegetation falling to the ground it is munch-time for mushrooms. They have the very important job of breaking down dead material that is then enjoyed by a huge number of bugs and grubs. Fungi is often the leaders in a parade of life that breaks material down into substances that are edible for further waves of species. This makes them extremely important and let’s face it, they are pretty good looking as well! Walking over to some deadwood I peer some bright orange blob that looks a bit like Patrick from SpongeBob SquarePants. What an odd but awesome sight. “Two krabby pates please”. I ask, laughing to myself. Typically there’s no-one around to hear it. Moving

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Fantastic Fungi

While out with the Wild Ways Well group this Thursday we were lucky enough to come across some amazing fungi in the Scottish Wildlife Trust’s Seafar Wood Wildlife Reserve. Each one was the size of a pinhead, and they ranged in colour from brilliant orange to vivid green. Fungi are fascinating, belonging to a Kingdom of Life all of their own. Unlike plants they can’t make their own food from sunlight, instead they have to obtain their nutrients from the environment around them. Many types of fungi feast on dead wood. These are the only organisms that are able to break down the structure of wood. Just imagine if wood never rotted, we’d quickly be up to our necks in fallen trees! Fungi is around us all the time, from the microscopically small to the very large. One honey fungus growing in Oregon is believed to be an incredible 2.4 miles across, making it the largest organism on Earth. They are important to humans too, without them we couldn’t have bread, wine, beer or pizza bases. But they can also