The 3rd Kingdom
Ah, as autumn continues trips out are reduced, photography is reduced, life takes a slower pace and less is seen, unless you look closely, it is really about change, look smaller, look closer, look up! The Kites have come down from the mountains, Cranes are flying to their new homes.
The last of the looks is ‘down’, fungi are now the feature. Our youngest daughter was with us for the last week and she shares my passion for photography and also has a similar keen interest in photographing fungi. I make no excuse for these images, I do understand if they are not to your ‘taste’ but without this kingdom we would be so much poorer, or even possibly not here at all. An interesting fact for those that feel the need, there are three kingdoms, Plant, Animal and Fungi, yes they do have their own kingdom, more interesting the Fungi kingdom split from the Animal kingdom not the Plant kingdom so they are closer kin to us than you may think! I suspect this explains a lot about their effect on us, there is good reason for tales of ‘magic mushrooms’ I do not in any way advocate experimenting in this manner but sufficient to say for me the ‘magic’ fungi all of us can reconise if not in form then in deed is penicillin, a fundamental building block to our current modern medicine that has saved huge numbers of people from suffering and death.
More importantly they are also a strong link between the animal and plant kingdom allowing us to reap benefits that otherwise may not be possible. As scientists delve more into fungi they begin to understand the complex interactions and critical links between them created by the fungi kingdom, you love Orchids? Who does not, well the terrestrial orchids we love so much have a close and important symbiotic relationship with fungi, true to say that many specie without a fungi interaction in their rooting system simply could not grow.
Scientists are now discovering that a fungi is one of the oldest and largest individual living organisms on the planet. While my images are not directly part of this particular genus they are of the same kingdom and have the same respect from me, I also find them to be beautiful and worthy of my attention. Their ability to re-process plant matter and waste material is awesome with some experiments showing they can consume and change heavy metal and hydrocarbon waste ground into good rich clean soil in a very short space of time, but please do not believe me – investigate – and be captured by this magical kingdom. A few images, a so very limited view of the colours and shapes that fungi come in, think all shapes and colours, there is a fungi that fits that image! On a last note, I have identified where I can, I am no expert, as to edibility, well, a wise author Terry Pratchett once disclaimed (original source unknown) 'all fungi are edible, some only once' !