“You want some fungi? That will be £200,000 please”
Fungi are so amazing. These strange organisms can pop up overnight and vanish in a day. They are mushrooms and toadstools, but they are also the mildew between the bathroom tiles and the mouldy greeny blue fur on the last piece of bread. They love damp conditions so right now they’re everywhere.
Have you heard of a truffle? Not the chocolate sort, truffles are a type of fungi that are highly prized by food connoisseurs (people who love to eat good food). Truffles are found in woodlands around Europe and can be sniffed out by pigs or specially trained dogs. The rare white truffle is worth it’s weight in gold. In fact the most expensive truffle in the world was sold at auction in 2007 and cost over £200,000! That’s a lot of money for some fungus.
Have you ever seen a fairy ring? It’s were a group of fungi grow on the ground in a circle. People used to think the they were caused by lightning strikes, meteor showers or fairies having a party (which is why they’re called fairy rings). The truth however is hidden beneath our feet. The type of fungi that cause fairy rings spread their mycelia (the little threads that are the main body of the fungus) in circles under the ground. When conditions are right, mushrooms pop up around the edge of the ring. The rings get bigger each year and some are ancient.