20 November 2020

Quiz: Are you a fungus geek?

Test your knowledge of fungi with these fun-gus questions.

By Katie Avis-Riordan

Shaggy parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes). Mushroom on woodland floor with a shaggy cap.

Do you know your lichens from your mycelium, and your stinkhorns from your zombie fungus?

Have a go at the following 15 questions to test your fungal knowledge. See the answers at the bottom of the page to find out if you're a fungi expert or amateur...

1. Name the fungus in the picture below.

A. Destroying angel (Amanita verna)

B. Common puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

C. Stinkhorn (Phallus impudicus)

D. Penny bun (Boletus edulis)

A round fungus on the woodland floor
A round fungus on the woodland floor, Jim Holden © RBG Kew

2. How many dried specimens does our Fungarium at Kew hold?

A. 10,000

B. 88,000

C. 450,000

D. 1.25 million

Specimen in Kew's Fungarium
Specimen in Kew's Fungarium

3. What is a saprotrophic fungus?

A. One that feeds on dead and decaying matter

B. One that is native to South America

C. One that lives on living tree leaves

D. One that lives in the desert

Fluted Bird’s Nest (Cyathus striatus). Brown cup-shaped fungus with a hairy exterior and grooved inner walls. It resembles a small nest containing white egg-like structures.
Fluted Bird’s Nest (Cyathus striatus), Grace Brewer © RBG Kew

4. Which of the following fungi is used to make beer?

A. Horse mushroom (Agaricus arvensis)

B. Fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe)

C. Velvet shank (Flammulina velutipes)

D. Oakbug milkcap (Lactarius quietus)

Pouring beer
Beer/Unsplash

5. King Alfred’s cakes (Daldinia concentrica) can do what?

A. Act as a firelighter

B. Grow one metre tall

C. Glow in the dark

D. Turn transparent at night

King Alfred's cakes (Daldinia concentrica)
King Alfred's cakes (Daldinia concentrica) © NotFromUtrecht/Wikimedia Commons

6. In the world of fungi, what is mycelium?

A. The habitat in which a fungus grows

B. Another name for fungal spores

C. The underground part of a fungus, made up of a network of filaments (hyphae)

D. The collective term for winter-fruiting fungi

Fungi mushrooming near a leaf
State of the World's Fungi, ©RBG Kew

7. What is the common name of the fungus Xylaria polymorpha?

A. Candlesnuff fungus

B. Wood blewit

C. Dead man’s fingers

D. Death cap

A dark-coloured fungus called Xylaria polymorpha
Xylaria polymorpha fungus © Björn S/Wikimedia Commons

8. Name the fungus in the picture below.

A. Beefsteak fungus (Fistulina hepatica)

B. Ash dieback fungus (Hymenoscyphus fraxineus)

C. Leaf-cutting ant fungus (Leucoagaricus gongylophorus)

D. Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria)

A red and white fungus in autumn
A red and white fungus in autumn © Maud Verstappen

9. The lichen Protoparmeliopsis muralis got its common name because it looks like what?

A. Fabric

B. Chewing gum

C. Saliva

D. A rug

The lichen Protoparmeliopsis muralis
Protoparmeliopsis muralis © Rudolphous/Wikimedia Commons

10. Penicillin comes from fungi. When did Alexander Fleming first discover this antibiotic?

A. 1980

B. 1859

C. 1901

D. 1928

Antibiotics
Antibiotics/Unsplash

11. Auricularia auricula-judae in the picture below is also known as what?

A. Common bird’s nest

B. Yellow brain

C. Jelly ear

D. Scarlet elf cup

Fungus on wood
Auricularia auricula-judae fungus on wood © Dominicus Johannes Bergsma/Wikimedia Commons

12. Where does the zombie fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis) get its name?

A. It grows inside the bodies of insect hosts and takes over their behaviour

B. It oozes a substance that looks like blue blood

C. It smells like rotting flesh

D. It looks like a dead beetle

Moth infected with a Ophiocordyceps fungus. Fungal spines stick out of the moth's body.
Moth infected with a Ophiocordyceps fungus © Wikimedia Commons/Bernard DUPONT

13. How does fairy ring champignon (Marasmius oreades) grow?

A. In dark caves

B. Surrounding bluebells on woodland floors

C. In circles in grassy areas

D. In rings on tree trunks

Underside of cap of fairy ring champignon (Marasmius oreades)
Fairy ring champignon (Marasmius oreades) © Jerzy Opioła/Wikimedia Commons

14. Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is an example of which type of fungus?

A. Cup fungus

B. Bolete fungus

C. Jelly fungus

D. Bracket fungus

Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus). Bright orange to yellow bracket fungus that looks like shelves on a tree trunk.
Chicken of the Woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) © Wikimedia Commons/Jean-Pol GRANDMONT

15. When mature, what does the octopus stinkhorn (Clathrus archeri) smell like?

A. Baking bread

B. Rotting flesh

C. Fried fish

D. Flowers

An Octopus stinkhorn (Clathrus archeri) with five red tentacles covered in thick black fluid.
Octopus stinkhorn (Clathrus archeri) © Wikimedia Commons/JeanRoulin

Answers

1. Name the fungus in the picture below.

B. Common puffball (Lycoperdon perlatum)

Witness fungi season at Wakehurst

2. How many dried specimens does our Fungarium at Kew hold?

D. 1.25 million

Learn more about our amazing Fungarium

3. What is a saprotrophic fungus?

A. One that feeds on dead and decaying matter

Discover some saprotrophic fungi growing at Kew

4. Which of the following fungi is used to make beer?

B. Fission yeast (Schizosaccharomyces pombe)

Find out more about this fascinating fungus

5. King Alfred’s cakes (Daldinia concentrica) can do what?

A. Act as a firelighter

Read more about this firestarting fungus

6. In the world of fungi, what is mycelium?

C. The underground part of a fungus, made up of a network of filaments (hyphae)

Swot up on more fungal facts

7. What is the common name of the fungus Xylaria polymorpha?

C. Dead man’s fingers

Unearth more spooky fungi

8. Name the fungus in the picture below.

D. Fly agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Watch our film on how to spot fungi

9. The lichen Protoparmeliopsis muralis got its common name because it looks like what?

B. Chewing gum

Learn more about chewing gum lichen

10. Penicillin comes from fungi. When did Alexander Fleming first discover this antibiotic?

D. 1928

Discover the secret fungi in everyday life

11. Auricularia auricula-judae in the picture below is also known as what?

C. Jelly ear

Watch our animation on why fungi matter to all of us

12. Where does the zombie fungus (Ophiocordyceps unilateralis) get its name?

A. It grows inside the bodies of insect hosts and takes over their behaviour

Geek out on more creepy plants and fungi

13. How does fairy ring champignon (Marasmius oreades) grow?

C. In circles in grassy areas

See fairy ring champignon at Kew

14. Chicken of the woods (Laetiporus sulphureus) is an example of which type of fungus?

D. Bracket fungus

Find out the facts on this distinctive fungus

15. When mature, what does the octopus stinkhorn (Clathrus archeri) smell like?

B. Rotting flesh

Learn about this plant that also smells of rotting flesh

Your score

Add up your score out of 15 to see if you're an expert or amateur...

11 or above: You're a fungus geek!

6 to 10: We're lichen your effort, you're full of fungal facts

1 to 5: Mush-room for improvement

0: That's pretty s-pore

Let us know how you did on our Kew FacebookTwitter or Instagram, or Wakehurst Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

Shaggy parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes). Mushroom on woodland floor with a shaggy cap.

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