• Students at South Peak

    Marsh - Billings - Rockefeller

    National Historical Park Vermont

Mushrooms and Other Fungi

Dead Man's Fingers fungus

Dead Man's Fingers fungus (Xylaria polymorpha)

K Jones

While fungi, like mushrooms, may look like plants, they are distinct from both plants and animals by mode of nutrition. While animals ingest food and plants make their own through photosynthesis, fungus secrete enzymes to digest surrounding organic matter and then absorb the released nutrients. By decomposing dead or decaying organisms and recycling nutrients, fungi serve an important ecological function. Without this important component dead organisms in the park, like fallen trees, would take much longer to decompose and return their nutrients back into the ecosystem.

Did You Know?

A group of 13 people sit in earnest conversation on the wicker chairs of a sunlit porch, vibrant green woods behind them. NPS Photo.

The NPS Conservation Study Institute, based at Marsh-Billings-Rockefeller NHP, works with national parks and partners to advance leadership and innovation, and in collaborative conservation for the stewardship of our national system of parks and special places. More...