Our world consists of a wide diversity of living and non-living things, and under these categories are thousands of various individuals classified into domain, kingdom, phylum, class, order, family, genus, and species accordingly. These different lifeforms are what we see in our ecosystem, which helps support human life.
Among all these lifeforms, one of the most common kingdoms is the animal and plant kingdoms.These kingdoms of life are what we often see in our world, which consists of the food we eat, such as meat, fruits, and vegetables. The wonders of these kingdoms are so incredible that even until today, scientists and researchers still don’t have an identified list of all plants and animal species around the world. That is why zoologists and botanists continue to search and find new species every year.
Interestingly, there is another kingdom that we might be aware of, and that is the fungi. This part of our eco life is a separate kingdom from animals and plants, which some may perceive as a plant, herb, or even an animal. However, fungi are unique forms of life and are neither plants nor animals.
In this article, we are going to look into the characteristics of fungi. Furthermore, what similarities does it have with plants and animals?
What is Fungi?
The word fungi are the plural form of fungus, which is a part of the eukaryotic domain along with plants and animals. However, as mentioned earlier, the fungus is a separate kingdom in this domain, although it does share some similar characteristics with other kingdoms under the same domain. This similarity mostly consists of the same cell structure.
Fungi is not difficult to distinguish since we often see them on a daily basis. An example of fungi includes microorganisms such as yeast, molds, and mushrooms. Some people might think that mushrooms are under the plant kingdom since they grow along with trees, and we use them in cooking, as well as eat them.
Interestingly, taxonomists considered fungi to be a part of the plant kingdom rather than a separate kingdom. It is because they share a lot more similar traits than any other kingdoms of life. One of its main similarities with plants is their immobility, wherein both of them don’t have any means of walking or moving. Furthermore, they both grow in the same habitat, such as soil. Apart from these, several other factors share similarities with fungi and plants, which is why it is a common misconception that both of them belong to the same kingdom.
With all these said, we can say that fungi are entirely different than plants and animals, although they do share some commonalities. It is evident that they have distinct characteristics, which made them unique among other groups.
What is a mushroom?
To understand more about the properties of fungi, let us look into the characteristics of one of its phylum called the mushroom.
Most of us might be familiar with the mushroom, also known as a toadstool. Mushrooms became a part of our popular culture, wherein we often see them in video games, movies, and books. Furthermore, some dishes include mushrooms as the main ingredient, which many people enjoy.
For starters, a more profound definition of mushroom is they belong to the fungi kingdom. We can see them growing on soil or above ground, similar to plants. Sometimes they grow on tree barks since they have the ability to grow on their food source.
Some mushrooms consist of 90% water and vary depending on the species. Interestingly, they have more than 50,000 species around the globe, and each species have unique traits. Among these species, some are poisonous, while others are edible, and there are mushrooms used for medicinal purposes.
The use of mushrooms started from thousands of years, wherein most people used them for medicinal purposes. Ancient Greek had a practice of making a person eat an unknown mushroom to check if it is edible; thus, not poisonous. The Ancient Chinese also used mushroom for medicinal purposes along with other herbs. Throughout the years, different people cultivated and produced various types of mushrooms, mainly for medicinal purposes and consumption.