Over the weekend, I discovered a number of previously unseen life forms with my grandson. The biodiversity present in our boggy woods never fails to impress, but this is especially so when you have a child along to point out the weird and wonderful.
After weeks of heavy precipitation, the woods were full of unusual fungi.
Once considered plants, it’s now believed that fungi share more characteristics with life forms in the animal kingdom. While the cell walls of plants consist of cellulose, theirs contain chitin, which is also found in the shells of crustaceans, insects and some molluscs. Unlike plants, which can make their own food through the process of photosynthesis, fungi survive by consuming dead matter.
Despite having a good field guide, I still find it difficult to identify the types of fungi I find in the woods. There seems to be such a variation in color and shape as they age, which complicates the identification process even more.
However, from my grandson’s perspective, it wasn’t necessary to know the names of these fungi in order to marvel at their remarkable appearance. Perhaps Nature is most awesome to those who carry child-like wonder in their pockets instead of field guides.
To attain knowledge, add things every day. To attain wisdom, remove things every day.
~ Lao Tsu