The world of fungi

Published: Tuesday 30 September 2008


Now here's a site that enlightens us to facts about fungi as opposed to the myth that they are mainly mould and disease producing parasites. Tom Volk's site at first glance seems colourful and confusing but a slower perusal of the various links gives one a good overview of fungi.

Although the focus is mainly on North American fungi, it gives general information on fungal taxonomy and ecology for the common man which is easy to comprehend along with lots of illustrations.The website has theme fungi such as holiday fungi for Christmas and Valentine's Day along with interesting trivia such as the fact that fungi are essential for the survival of the cacao tree, without which there would be no chocolate in this world or the hallucinogenic Fly-Agaric mushroom which was consumed by the Vikings to suppress their fear before a raid. So much for the Vikings' fearless nature.

The site on frequently asked questions gives us answers on how to get rid of the unwanted ones growing in the yard. Better still it opens our eyes to the fact that most of these mushrooms are good decomposers and keep the soil enriched. There are sites which provide information to teachers as well as non-professional mycologists informing them about mycological clubs and societies.

There are also numerous links to other websites providing information on fungi from around the world as well as links to research on fungal ecology. Tom Volk is a professor of biology at the University of Wisconsin in the US.

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