The Allure of Fungi
CSIRO Publishing, $49.99 pb, 280 pp, 9781486308576
Of all the forms of life historically divided into kingdoms, only two – plants and animals – have attracted large bands of human followers. Entire organisations and university departments are devoted to understanding, controlling, and conserving plants and animals, and our cultural domains are saturated with their likenesses. Two of the other kingdoms, Protista and Monera, have arrived on our radar more recently and most often in the guise of pathogens, though recent advances in microbiology have seen the microbiome take on a whole new cultural salience. That leaves Carl Linnaeus’s ‘thievish and voracious beggars’, the fungi.