Mushrooms are incredible organisms, and are key to many ecosystems. They are mysterious too, occupying a special place in folklore and traditional forms of medicine, as well as visions of a sustainable future where they will break down the plastic waste of the world, transforming it into food.
In his mission to document undiscovered fungi, Australian photographer Steve Axford has found some stunning specimens previously. But his latest visual discoveries are even more extraordinary: seen over at This Is Colossal, these vibrant little shrooms are prime examples of how nature is full of surprises. Wow.
It is a whole world waiting to be discovered and it is right under our noses. I’m no mycologist, but at least I can help people to get to know them through my photography. It is now estimated that there could be 4 million species of fungus, of which only 1 to 200,000 have been described. Many of the larger species have been described, but almost none of the tiny species. I often photograph small species and most of these are not described. Also, many Australian species are assumed to be the same as Northern Hemisphere species, but when checked are found not to be the same at all.
To underscore the possibility of all these unknown mushroom species, just take a look at the fungi below. Far from looking like your mundane mushrooms from the market, some of these below don't even seem like mushrooms at all...!
It's truly eye-opening to see these terrific fungi -- they point to the unknown frontiers of nature, that the possibilities of the universe are wider than we know -- an exciting prospect that alludes to our own infinite potential. You can see more over at Steve Axford's Flickr and SmugMug pages.