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".
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.
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
should stop, our planet would soon be converted in a vast cemetary
of plants and animals.
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.
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.