Tagged: Fungi

For fans of fungi – The magic of mushrooms

The Magic of Mushrooms: Fungi in folklore, superstition and traditional medicine, Sandra Lawrence, 2022. Welbeck, in partnership with RBG Kew. How much do you know about fungi? It doesn’t really matter how much you know because I bet you’ll know an awful lot more about this mysterious kingdom after reading The Magic of Mushrooms by Sandra Lawrence [which book is here appraised]. Technical stuff A single page Introduction begins the book before 10 chapters – occupying approx. 190 pages – deliver the main text of the tome. And with such titles as: Fairy rings, The cunning woman’s stillroom, The dark...

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A book about trees and fungi, what’s not to like?*

Fungi and trees: Their complex relationships, by Lynne Boddy, 2021. Arboricultural Association. Arbor is the borrowed-from-Latin word for a tree. You’d therefore expect a book from the UK’s Arboricultural Association to say a thing or two about trees. But, as Lynne Boddy notes in Fungi and trees** (which tome is here appraised), one should “Never think of a tree as just a tree: Always, think tree plus very many fungi, and other organisms” (page iii). As befits its title, Fungi and trees doesn’t consider the ‘other organisms’ in much detail, but it does have a lot to say about fungi...

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Plant blindness eradicated *

Plant blindness [PB] is the term coined by James Wandersee & Elisabeth Schussler (The American Biology Teacher 61(2): 82–86, 1999; https://doi.org/10.2307/4450624) for the phenomenon in humans whereby plants are not seen – literally overlooked – in nature, and consequently their importance to humanity is not appreciated. It’s also been called zoochauvinism, and zoocentrism, which terms emphasise the perceived pre-eminence and importance of animals above all other forms of life – plants, bacteria, fungi, algae and protozoa, and Archaea. As Botanists we know the importance of plants** – and related photosynthetic organisms such as algae and cyanobacteria – to the lives...

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Seaweeds, lichens and phytoplankton, what’s not to like..?

Rocky Shores, by John Archer–Thompson and Julian Cremona 2019. Bloomsbury Publishing Plc. “Rocky shores are one of the most extreme environments on the planet.” [Anon.] This is a BOTANY blog site! OK, let’s address the elephant in the room at the outset: Why am I, a Botanist, appraising Rocky Shores by John Archer-Thompson and Julian Cremona? First, because there’s a good deal of plant-related material in the book [Chap. 4 on lichens (14 pp.), Chap. 5 on seaweeds (38 pp.), and Chap. 10 on plankton (4.25 pp. re phytoplankton), and there’s a good shout-out for fungi in Chap. 12 on...

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State of the World's Fungi

#SOTWF18 – The State of the World’s Fungi

Kew will be publishing its first State of the World’s Fungi report on Wednesday, with a follow-up symposium on Thursday and Friday. We plan to be there on both days, and in the build-up to the report and the event, we’ll be posting some fungi-related material to show why if you’re serious about plants you have to be serious about fungi too. Our SOTWF Posts [catlist id=19101]

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The Fungal Kingdom cober

A bumper crop of fungi

The Fungal Kingdom, edited by Joseph Heitman, Barbara J. Howlett, Pedro W. Crous, Eva H. Stukenbrock, Timothy Y. James and Neil A. R. Gow, 2018. American Society for Microbiology Press There has been a veritable mushrooming of fungus books of late (e.g. the trio from Nicholas Money – Fungi: A Very Short Introduction (2016), Mushrooms: A Natural and Cultural History (2017), and The Rise of Yeast: How the sugar fungus shaped civilisation (2018)). What can we deduce from that? Two things, I think: Single-authored, more-populist books on fungal topics are publication-worthy; and there is a genuine interest in matters fungal...

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How a microbe moulded mankind

The Rise of Yeast: How the sugar fungus shaped civilization by Nicholas P. Money, 2018. Oxford University Press. I am a Botanist: All aspects of plants and plant biology are of interest to me. But, I’m particularly interested in plant-people interactions and how our relationship to/with plants influences our human existence. In that regard one of my favourite books – and a key text on my undergraduate Plants and People module – is John Perlin’s A Forest Journey. Subtitled The Story of Wood and Civilization, Perlin’s big idea is that humans are the way we are, etc. because of our...

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