The Kingdom of Fungi is often referred to as the 'Forgotten Flora' or 'The Hidden Kingdom'. These terms greatly undervalue the important role fungi play in our environment. Imagine a world void of fungi. In such a world fallen trees, dead, leaves, animal carcasses, and all other spent waste organic matter would litter the planet. Thankfully the invisible activity of fungi, with some aid from other decomposers, all this waste material is recycled. Fungi also form important symbiotic relationships with most plants and some animals, without which their competitive advantage would be greatly reduced.
The aim of the FNCV Fungi Group is to make the Fungi Kingdom more visible by widening people's knowledge of fungi in the field. We do this in the following ways:-
- Meetings are held on the first Monday of the month. We discuss ways of identifying various species of fungi, and we also have guest speakers presenting their latest work in the field of mycology.
- We conduct forays to various locations within easy driving distance from Melbourne. The forays are attended by people of various ages and experience, and each foray is led by an experienced guide. After each foray, we review, identify and document what we have found.
- We also produce The Fungi CD, which contains a lot of information about fungi, and also features a pictorial key to assist in the identification of fungi. This CD has over 1000 images of fungi.
- We also participate with the Fungimap project run by the National Herbarium, Royal Botanic Gardens Melbourne, in recording the location where various 'target' species are found. This important project is used to document Australia's fungal biota.