Fungi are neither plants nor animals but belong to their own kingdom. They are unable to produce their own food through the process of photosynthesis, as plants do; instead, they acquire nutrients from living or dead plants, animals, or other fungi, as animals do. In many larger fungi (lichens excepted) the only visible parts are the fruit bodies, which arise from a largely unseen network of threads called 'hyphae'. These hyphae permeate the fungus's food source, which may be soil, leaf litter, rotten wood, dung, and so on, depending on the species (3). This species occurs throughout the year (3). During spring (2), it can be found covered in a layer of sooty black spores; these are released at night and can travel up to 2 cm away from the fruit body from which they were discharged. It is also believed by some authorities that the alder wood wasp is involved in the dispersal of spores. Timber infected by this fungus develops a white rot known as 'calico wood' (4).
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