So far we have noted several species of fungi in the woodland at the Australian Botanic Garden. These include mushrooms, toadstools, puff balls, bracket fungi and slime moulds. Some are native and others are introduced. The mushroom is the fruiting body of the organism, beneath these are the thin ‘root like’ net of hyphae that is the feeding system which may extend for many metres and may sometimes form ‘fairy rings’.
Fungi cannot make their own food like higher plants. They are saprophytic and feed on rotting material. Some are found on rotting wood and logs while others grow in the soil. Some may form symbiotic relationships with plants helping them take up nutrients. We know very little about plant fungi relationships in our woodland, however one species here, Calvatia lilacina has been reported in China to be an ectomycorrhizal fungi ie associated with plant roots.