WELCOME TO THE OKLAHOMA FUNGI FAMILY !
First things first, Fungi are not plants!
Living things are organized for study into large, basic groups called kingdoms. Fungi were grouped with Kingdom Plantae until 1969 when Robert Whittaker proposed Kingdom Fungi. Scientists agreed that fungi show a close relation to animals, but are unique and separate life forms. The part of the fungus that we see is only the fruit of the organism. The living body of the fungus is a mycelium made out of a web of tiny filaments called 'hyphae'. The mycelium is usually hidden in the soil, in wood, or another food source. Mycelium may fill a single ant or cover many acres. The branching hyphae can add over a half-mile (1 km) of total length to the mycelium each day. These webs live unseen until they develop mushrooms,
puffballs, truffles, brackets, cups, birds nests, corals or other fruiting bodies. If the mycelium produces microscopic fruiting bodies, people may never notice the fungus is there at all.
-Utah State University (Biology Department)
Fungi are major decomposers in certain ecosystems and essential associates of many organisms. They provide enzymes and drugs and serve as experimental organisms. In 1991, a landmark paper estimated that there are 1.5 million fungi on the Earth. Only 70,000 fungi had been described at that time, the estimate has been the impetus to search for previously unknown fungi. Fungal habitats include soil, water, and organisms that may harbor large numbers of understudied fungi. Some research estimates that Fungi outnumber plants by at least 6 to 1. More recent estimates based on high‐throughput sequencing methods suggest that as many as 5.1 million fungal species exist on Planet Earth.
-THE FUNGI: 1, 2, 3 … 5.1 MILLION SPECIES? By Meredith Blackwell