If you could lift the edge of a woodland floor and roll it back like a carpet you would find a dense web of fungal mycelium. But peeling back a small strip of loose bark on a dead tree is a lot easier, but the pinciple is very similar. All the goodness is being drawn from the dead wood and then transformed into life boosting nutrients which the living plants and trees need to survive, and at the same time is sustaining the fungi. It is the perfect relationship, and a wonder of nature. All this goes on right under our feet 24/7, and most of us are not even aware of it. The web of life reaches out to us all, and sustains us, too.
Lifting a small fallen log yesterday, just off a woodland path, I found this growing on the underside. These long spiderweb-like white fibers are hyphae. This structure, as a whole, is the vegetative structure of fungi called the mycelium, and is what we see when we find a tomato in its decomposing state. It is typically found in soils and on other organic matter. If you could lift the corner of a forest or woodland floor like a carpet, you would find it matted and thriving there.
Fruiting fungi like mushrooms and toadstools produce spores, and these spores have the ability to turn into mycelium, which in turn manifest themselves as fruiting bodies after joining with another mycelium.
Mycelium come in different sizes, from microscopic to as large as a whole forest, and acts as one of nature’s important recyclers. It it amazing what lies just beneath our feet, a vast web of life which is essential to the health and well-being of the wood or forest, and in turn life on earth.