What exactly are mushrooms? Mushrooms are actually the reproductive structure of a fungus.
A fungus, and plural fungi, describes any plant-like organism that does not make chlorophyll. Chlorophyll is the element that gives plants their green pigmentation, and it’s what helps them convert sunlight into energy through photosynthesis.
Types of fungi include molds, yeasts, and mushrooms!
What’s so special about mushrooms? You know, in addition to being super cool to spot in the wild, mushrooms add a lot to their environment. They act as decomposers.
Mushrooms associate with all plants on the planet, feeding on the nutrients created by the fungi. Fungi create these nutrients by decomposing or decomposing dead plants and animals.
Decomposition is a necessary part of the natural food web, not only providing nutrients to plants and animals, but returning nutrients to the ecosystem.
There are around 14,000 species of mushrooms in the world, but beware, not all of the mushrooms you find are safe to eat! More than 70 species of mushrooms are poisonous and deadly. The surest way to find mushrooms to eat is to buy them from a mushroom shop like Brandon or your local grocery store.
Class discussion questions:
Create a Venn diagram comparing and contrasting producers, consumers, and decomposers.
Take it outside! Take a nature walk and see if you can spot any wild mushrooms. But remember, you must NOT eat them!
Get ready to cook! Have you ever tasted mushrooms? If you’re feeling adventurous, pick up mushrooms at your next grocery store and try adding them to one of your meals.