Greek version
Endemic species Rare-Threatened Fungi Bryophytes-Lichens Herbarium


Fungi are a huge group of organisms, previously classified as plants. However, they present significant differences from plants, algae and bacteria, so that today they are considered a separate kingdom, between plants and animals. Mushrooms are only a small category of the giant fungi "family".

wild mushroomsFungi lack chlorophyll, therefore they cannot produce organic substances. They are heterotrophic organisms, absorbing necessary organic substances from living or dead organisms. Thus, they cannot produce energy on their own, like plants do, converging solar energy to chemical energy and storing it in the form of starch. Fungi retain the required energy from their environment in numerous ways, according to their kind. Most mushrooms decompose, along with bacteria, dead plant leaves and branches. These are called saprophytic fungi and by putrifying, complex organic substances of dead organisms are decomposed in simplier essences, absorbed consequently by the fungi and thus reentering the cycle of life.

fungi on a pine coneMushrooms are essential for the economy of nature. Their contribution to the equilibrium of carbon and inorganic salts is considered extremely important. It is estimated that if this process of organic matter's recycling should stop, our planet would soon be converted in a vast cemetary of plants and animals.

Universally, approximately 72,000 fungi species have been recorded and described, whilst it is believed that more than 1,500,000 species exist. This means that more than 95% of the species remain unknown. Fungi biodiversity in Greece is even less known, although it seems from existing data that it is extremely interesting. Several areas of Greece are totally inexplored for fungi and others have been narrowly investigated.

decomposing fungiMushrooms are delicious and very nutrritious, however, caution is required, as several species are poisonous and strong hallucinogens. On Parnitha 107 species of mushrooms (Aplada, 2005) have been found:
1 Toxic, 8 Poisonous, 20 Non edible, 55 Edible, 23 Unknown Edibility.



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  Forest Service of Parnitha
  Thrakomakedonon Ave.    142, Acharnes. GR13601
   Athens, Greece.

Tel.: 0030 210 2434061-3 fax.: 0030 210 2434064



  Eirini Aplada, Biologist-M.Sc. Environmental Biology and Terrestrial and Marine Ecosystem Management