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Directory of Fungi Resources

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The kingdom Fungi comprises not only the more familiar mushrooms and toadstools but also lichens, moulds, rusts, smuts and rot. In fact what we see are the fruiting bodies of the fungi,these being supported by a network of root-like strands called hyphae beneath the surface. Most fungi are saprobes, breaking down organic material and especially wood. Some are parasites and may be significant agents of plant or animal disease and some form a mutually beneficial relationship with the roots of plants. The phylum Basidiomycota includes the common mushrooms and toadstools, puffballs and bracket fungi and the phylum Ascomycota includes truffles, morels and other fungi with cup-shaped, club-shaped or various strangely-shaped fruiting bodies. There is great diversity in shape of these and their appearance may not be a good guide to their classification. The other main phyla are the Zygomycota or pin-moulds and the Chytridiomycota whose members are mostly aquatic, some being parasites. Modern genetic analysis is showing unexpected relationships between disparate groups and demonstrating that what had been thought to be closely related groups are actually far apart. The Fungi are now thought to be more closely related to the animal kingdom than the plant kingdom. Subcategories are organized according to the taxon tree: - Divisions -- Families --- Genera


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