Beyond slicing them up as a pizza topping or sauteed beside a steak, I’ve never given much thought to mushrooms. But after reading Michael Pollan’s The Omnivore’s Dilemma, I’ll never look at one the same again.
In the book, he talks about the mysteriousness of fungi and how we really don’t know very much about them. What really got my attention though, is their role in life’s cycle on the planet or, more specifically, in death. From the book:
Without fungi to break things down, the earth would long ago have suffocated beneath a blanket of organic matter created by plants; the dead would pile up without end, the carbon cycle would cease to function, and living things would run out of things to eat.
We tend to train our attention and science on life and growth, but of course death and decomposition are no less important to nature’s operations, and the fungi are the undisputed rulers of this realm.
Below are some fascinating photos of this strange organism.
[Note: Most of these photos are licensed All Rights Reserved. Matador received special permission from the photographers in these cases. Please note the license type before reusing any of the following images.]