The 5th Kingdom

The Fifth Kingdom

The Fifth Kingdom 1024 683 Fungi Hunter

Out of all the things that I’ve ever learned in my life, nothing has had a more deeply profound impact on me than that of the Fifth Kingdom. As I’m sitting here writing this, drinking my mushroom coffee, I can’t help but think back to that fateful day, many years ago, when I went foraging for the first time and that many years later, I would be writing about it and sharing this passion I have for fungi with you and the rest of the world.

What is the Fifth Kingdom you ask? It is one of wonder and awe and overwhelming beauty. Without it, all the things that make up the ecosystem of the earth, the trees, plants, animals and humans, who have evolved for thousands of years, all have one thing in common when it comes to their evolution. Hidden in plain sight, (well sort of), fungi have been there every step of the way. In fact the earliest of these fungi (molds, yeast and mushrooms) which scientists believed, pre-dated our existence by over 500 million years, until a recent fossilized discovery in the Arctic of Canada changed all that. Chitin (what the cell walls of fungi are made of) was found on a rock and when analyzed showed the age of it to be almost 1 Billion years old. Research is ongoing but this discovery could completely change our understanding of how life on Earth has evolved with fungi, being one of the most abundant organisms on the planet.

In School, we were taught about the plant and animal kingdoms and as science has evolved, we have learned more and have added and made changes to these kingdoms, to expand on the knowledge we’ve gained. As time goes by, we have become more aware of how important fungi are to the world and to the very survival of this planet and the people who inhabit it. The knowledge and insights gained about our fungal allies, the benefits they provide and ability to communicate this information to the community, in a simple and easy to understand way, is what drives me to share this with you. I believe all life on Earth depends on it.

Since that fateful day, my lifelong passion has been Mycology. It’s a branch of Biology that studies fungi. “Myco” comes from the Greek word meaning, fungus or mushroom. In society we use the term “mushroom” in a basic way to describe everything related to this. The word mushroom actually describes the spore bearing fruiting body or the reproductive part of the fungi that we see above ground. Spores are like the seeds of the fungi. The spores germinate and form hyphae which are the branching filaments that make up the mycelium under the ground, the main part of the fungal organism. This is where all the magic happens. (I will elaborate further in other posts) I’m sure you’ve been to the store and seen the white button, crimini or Portobello mushrooms they have in the produce sections. If you do eat mushrooms, you’ve had them in soups, had them on pizza, even sauteed and added to your favorite burger, chicken or steak dinner. The OG of veggie burgers is the grilled Portobello mushroom. The common white button mushroom alone makes up over 90% of the mushrooms sold in the US and is one of the most widely consumed mushrooms in the world. Here’s a fun fact that is not common knowledge in regards to the above mentioned mushrooms. All 3 of them, the button, crimini and portobello mushrooms are all the SAME mushrooms at various stages of growth. Yes, really! They are called Agaricus bisporus. They start off looking white (button), then as they age they turn brown (crimini), then they continue to grow and expand until they are the larger portobello mushrooms that we know today. Now, fast forward to the present, with the current state of health in the world, more and more people are becoming aware of the nutritional and medicinal benefits. The addition of other fungi for food and medicine like Shiitake and Oysters, Reishi, Lion’s mane, Chaga and Cordyceps are making their way into more and more products. Learning ways of incorporating fungi into one’s daily life, with all the available information can be quite daunting. It doesn’t have to be hard. Most people don’t know how easy it is. Take for instance, the mushroom coffee I mentioned early on. It’s a delicious ground coffee with functional mushroom extracts in it. You make it the same way you do regular coffee and in doing so, you just help your immune system do a better job at protecting what’s most important, your overall health!!

I will leave you with these words, my own take on it, it goes like this.

“Give people mushrooms, feed them for a day. Teach people about mushrooms and help them feed and heal the world”

There’s much to share. Thank you for taking the time to read this. I’m grateful you stopped by.

Welcome to the Kingdom of Fungi


Peace, Love and Mushrooms

Fungi Hunter

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