This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Monday, 28 November 2011

Spot the frippet: fungi.

There are fungi wibbling all over the fields and woods of England at the moment - we have some lovely lilac blewits on our front lawn - but of course most of the fungi which exist around us (and inside us) are so small as to be invisible to the naked eye.

Pause to shudder with wonder, here, I think. Invisible fungi include yeasts, and antibiotics, as well as being part of what is rather spookily called gut flora.

Hey, and did you know that fungi are nearer to animals than plants?

That they are farmed, not only by people, but by ants and wasps and termites?

That fungi have cells made with chitin, which is the same stuff of which lobsters' skeletons are made?

That fungi are used to "stonewash" jeans?

That some fungi are utterly delicious?

(This is a stilton cheese, and the fungus which inhabits it is called Penicillium roqueforti. Yes, it's used in Roquefort cheese, too.)

Spot the frippet: fungus. If you can't find a mushroom-type thing then any piece of bread or any alcoholic drink will contain fungi -  and anyone with a beard or moustache is sporting face fungus.

The word is Latin for mushroom, and before that it came from the Greek word sphongos, which means sponge.

Which brings us back to the wibbly woods rather beautifully. doesn't it.

1 comment:

  1. Now FUNGUS is not a word I like, though I do like a lot of fungi to eat! I associate it with Fungus the Bogeyman....