Mushrooms and Other Fungi

Cortinarius heliotropicusmushroom at Saint-Gaudens NHS
Close up photograph of a blue, Cortinarius heliotropicus mushroom at Saint-Gaudens National Historic Site

Over 70 species of mushrooms have been identified at Saint-Gaudens NHS, although there are many other species present. Mushrooms are a type of fungus with a fleshy fruiting body. Most consist of underground filaments and a gilled cap supported by a stalk. The gills are loaded with spores that are shed to propagate their species. Mushrooms thrive in cool and moist environments and a diversity of species are found throughout the park during the summer and fall.

Fungi are distinct from animals and plants by mode of nutrition. While animals ingest food and plants manufacture their own, mushrooms secrete enzymes to digest surrounding organic matter. They then absorb the released nutrients. By decomposing dead or decaying organisms and recycling nutrients, fungi serve an important ecological function.

Last updated: February 26, 2015

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