Wait - a mushroom's not a plant?!

Hello friends and mycology enthusiasts!

Even though it’s common to think of mushrooms as veggies because of how we eat them, mushrooms aren’t actually a part of the plant kingdom. Think back to your middle or high school biology days - remember the Kingdoms of Life? 

Taxonomists use these six broad categories to organize all living things:


The tasty mushrooms we grow here at Cellar Mushrooms are part of the fungi kingdom, of course, but they weren’t categorized that way until about 50 years ago. Mushrooms were long classified as plants; however, it turns out fungi are more closely related to animals than plants! 

To understand how fungi live, first a quick look at the components of a mushroom:

A mushroom is the fruiting body of fungus.  The fungus’s mycelium grows underground, sort of like the roots of a plant; the mushroom fruits above ground; and the spores within the gills are like the seeds. Each mushroom has billions of spores!

Mushrooms aren’t plants because they don’t have chlorophyll for food production,  and they aren’t animals because they don’t eat and digest. Instead, the mycelium grows into and around the food source, secretes enzymes for external digestion, and then the mycelium absorbs the already-digested nutrients. 

When people cultivate mushrooms, the food source the fungi grow in and around is called substrate. Here at Cellar Mushrooms, our substrate is a mix of hard woods such as oak, cherry, and maple, as well as soy hulls. In contrast, common button mushrooms are grown on composted manure. 

As non-plant, non-animal organisms, mushrooms have their own unique set of health benefits you can’t find in the traditional plant + animal food groups. In future blog posts we’ll dig into the nutritional and medicinal benefits of the mushroom varieties we proudly grow for you, lovely customer!


Your Cellar Mushrooms team


[photo credits - 1: www.alevelbiology.co.uk; 2: www.grocycle.com; featured image: www.grocycle.com]

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