Our guest speaker: Rita de Heer – Fungi
Rita is passionate about fungi ... her garden is a microcosm of the world of fungi.
In Australia she estimates there are about 250,000 fungi with some 10,000 having fruiting bodies. Most however, are toxic.
In a teaspoon of soil for example there is around 1 kilometer of feeding fungal threads or filaments. Fungi need preformed organic matter to survive and they can do that in one of several ways: from plants (eg the puff ball from eucalyptus micchoriza), rotting wood or acting in parastic ways (the water-borne phytophera).
Some are edible eg mushroom and truffles; the bird nest fungi is in mulch; the ghost fungus glows in the dark; orchids need them; and many plants have a symbiotic relationship with particular fungi for improved plant health.
Many types of fruiting bodies were brought to the lecture by members ... one spectacular rubbery brown fruiting body was about 30 cm across.