I thought that the fungal taxonomy is simple, but it is not! I also thought that plant is more diverse than the fungus, but it is not! I came to know it only when Dr. Hosaka, mycologist (Basidiomycota) from Japan presented a seminar on Mushroom.
Mushrooms are edible, non-edible, poisonous and non-poisonous. Many farmers earn their livelihood through the trade of mushroom and of course many people die due to mushroom poisoning. They play vital roles in the ecosystem as mycorrhiza and decomposers (of wood and leaves). Mushrooms are known to be the most diverse groups of organism in the terrestrial ecosystem, yet the true numbers of the mushroom species are unknown.
The scientists have estimated the number of mushroom species of both known and unknown to be ca. 1,500,000 species. It is also estimated through different approaches that the number of species to be around 5 – 9 million or even more.
|Ganoderma applanatum. Phuntsholing, January, 2013 Alt. c. 400m|
|Microporus sp. Phuntsholing. January, 2013. Alt. c. 1000m|
Dr. Hosaka mentioned that the ratio of plant to fungi in the world is 1:5 i.e. for every plant there is 5 mushrooms. It is quite alarming that most of the fungus are not discovered or not described, whereas most of the plants have been discovered and described too. The fact about mushroom is that, even a single species can be identified into at least 7 species.
Mushrooms are source of income for some farmers and food for some. The mushrooms has so far increased the status of local livelihood and also taken some of the lives. It is vital to identify the edible, non-edible and poisonous mushrooms.
Mushrooms are so diverse; that to explore, discover and describe the entire mushroom on earth will take more than 1000 years from now.
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