Fungi Friday 12th February 2021
For a long time I’ve been intending to watch Fantastic Fungi, a feature-length film about, you guessed it, fungi. You can watch the film for a fee via the Fantastic Fungi website.
I thought the film was inspirational. In dark times it gave a sense of the deep resilience of fungi and their role in the world. The time-lapse footage is some of the best you will see, from my experience. There is also stunning CGI visualising the interconnectedness of fungal hyphae and the roots of trees and plants. The image of a perished mouse decaying, being recycled by insects and fungi, and then sprouting with plants, will stay in my memory.
Perhaps that’s one of the things about fungi that is so hopeful – it can give a vision for life beyond dying. Death is not an end.
One surprise with the film was the extensive coverage of Paul Stamets, one of America’s leading mycologists. As one person commented to me on Twitter, he was so prevalent in the film it could really have been named after him! He is an incredibly engaging speaker and has achieved fame with his YouTube talks.
Stamets makes a great point about the need to protect old growth woodlands, especially those where he lives in North America. The argument (beyond many, many others) is that they are reservoirs of undiscovered medicines and scientific advancements. There are species going extinct which we have not yet even identified. There are plants and fungi which could change the world, or indeed save it, which are being destroyed with their habitats. Much of this is for logging and clearing land for agriculture.
The story of how Stamets’ mother survived cancer after using extract from turkey tail (Trametes versicolor) is amazing. It’s unclear how fundamental to her survival turkey tail was. You can read more about medical research regarding turkey tail here.
Thanks for reading and make sure to check out the film!
Dartmoor: finding Grimspound in the mist 🛖
It was a misty morning high on Dartmoor. We began walking from Bennett’s Cross, passing Birch Tor and heading through wintry heather moorland.
A spring epistrophe? 🐝
Another week of some sun, some showers, and some temperatures that got close to freezing. That sentence may turn out to be a spring epistrophe, but more of that later. In Scotland it reached as low as -5C. April 2023 has been a mishmash of seasons. Here’s what I encountered in my garden on 22nd…
Is this England’s national mushroom? 🍄
On a recent visit to the National Trust’s Nymans Gardens I spotted some big, cream-coloured things in the lawns near the car park. No, these were not scones or cream cakes, or even pasties discarded by visitors.
3 thoughts on “#FungiFriday: can mushrooms save the world?”
Thanks so much for the head’s up and link to the film.
Your ‘Turkey Tail’ photo is stunning (as all your images are!)
Ah thank you Emma. That is the single most beautiful specimen I’ve ever found. You should definitely check out the film. Streamable (££) on several platforms.
I will do – thanks again for the recommendation!