Mushrooms: Keys to the Kingdom Fungi

Mushrooms: Keys to the Kingdom Fungi
All Photos copyright John Whittlesey

January 11 – March 1, 2020

The story of fungi is integral to the story of life. Wherever there is life, there are fungi. Fungi are not plants and they are not animals, they are their own category of living organism. Mushrooms: Keys to the Kingdom Fungi explores the variety of fruiting bodies produced by fungi from the edible to the outrageous.

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What is a Mushroom? What are the Kinds of Mushroom?
Mushrooms are the fruiting bodies of many fungi. Not all fungi produce mushrooms, but all mushrooms are born of fungi. Mushrooms come in many different sizes, shapes and colors, appearing in different seasons under often very different conditions. Thus, mushrooms come in a wide variety of classifications and each of these is named for their defining characteristics, their shape, how they produce spores and where they grow.

Mushroom Usage
Worldwide, human culture is rich with mushroom fact and fantasy. People have long considered mushrooms as prized edibles, feared poisons, powerful medicines and spiritual tools, among other uses. Edible mushrooms in particular are shrouded in myth. While there are many more edible mushrooms than there are fatally poisonous ones, human culture has a long history of evoking the scarier, magical, mysterious properties of mushrooms.

Mushrooms: Keys to the Kingdom Fungi is a traveling exhibition from Exhibit Envoy developed by Jennifer Jewell and John Whittlesey.

Presented in partnership with:

Presented in partnership with the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz and Kenneth S Norris Center for Natural History