Earth teems with fungi. Throughout forests, jungles, grasslands, and deserts; in puddles, at lakeshores, and on the ocean floor; between cracks in stone and on the peaks of mountains; in all climates and on every continent. Fungi can be found as easily during a walk in rain-soaked woods as in the produce aisle, or simply by jabbing a finger into healthy soil. They are essential and ubiquitous. Turn over a rock, dig under the roots of a tree, scoop up a handful of water, open your mouth: there be the fungi. Stop reading for a moment and take a deep breath – you’ve just inhaled their spores. Whether we know it or not, our daily life is rife with fungal encounters: in the beer and wine we drink; the bread, cheese, yoghurt, tempeh, and soy sauce we eat; thousands of the medicines and chemicals on which we rely; and the fuzzy splotches that turn our tomatoes to mush. But more than providing conveniences, inconveniences, or culinary experiences, in a meaningful, even literal sense, quietly and largely unseen, fungi bind the living world together. Their exquisitely fine fibres aerate soils, enhancing water retention and bracing against erosion. Meanwhile, fungi churn […]

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