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By Geoff Dann

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1. What are fungi? Fungi belong to Eukaryota (or the eukaryotes) – a large group of living things that includes plants, animals and all multicellular organisms. Fungi are actually more closely related to animals than plants, which might seem strange but only because fungi cannot move. Animals and fungi both derive their sustenance from external sources, whereas plants generate food internally, using energy from sunlight to photosynthesize carbohydrates. The life cycle of fungi For most of their lives, fungi are almost invisible.

They feed on organic matter that is already dead, turning it into food for the animals and microbes that feed on the mushrooms, and releasing the rest as raw nutrients into the local environment. ) Ancient and modern woodland. The brackets are fruit bodies of Artist’s Fungus. Some fungi have pursued a more aggressive strategy and become parasitic as well; these are best known for causing problems for forestry and horticulture. They attack living trees and shrubs – especially those that are already sickly, genetically inferior, or growing in a habitat to which they aren’t best suited (which can include exotic garden plants).

Edible Mushrooms A forager’s guide to the wild fungi of Britain, Ireland and Europe Geoff Dann Contents Introduction Part I: Fungi and foraging 1. What are fungi? 2. How to identify fungi 3. Where and when to find fungi 4. Safety and equipment 5. Culture and laws 6. Poisonous fungi 7. Edible fungi Part II: The fungi How to use this guide Visual index Species guide Glossary References Resources Index Photograph credits About the author I was fortunate to have grown up roaming the woods and old grassland on the ridge of the North Downs in Surrey, south-east England, and my interest in the wild things around me goes back to about the time I learned to walk.

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