Friday, March 12, 2010

Animals, Mushrooms and Plants

This post is an answer to who wrote:

Pilze sind Organismen, die nicht eindeutig tierisch oder pflanzlich zugeordnet werden können. Sie sind gewissermaßen eine Mischung aus Beidem. (freely translated: Mushrooms are organisms that are not definitely animal or plant, but something quasi in-between). 

This prompted me to make a picture of parts of the phylogenetic tree of some of my favorite organisms. Mushrooms, in the fungi clade, are genetically a little bit closer to animals than to plants. The main difference between animals and fungi, and between animals and plants, is the structure of the cell wall. Unlike animals and fungi, plants can make chlorophyll,  thus get their energy from the sun and not from other plants or animals.
For a more detailed and scientific view of the tree, please go to the NCBI Taxonomy Browser

Fire Salamander - Feuersalamander
The Fire Salamander has a special place in my heart. I had one for 15 years when I was a kid (they can live 25 years). An irresponsible teacher gave it to me in 5th grade. His name was Hermann, and it still bothers me that I didn't take care of him better. I couldn't let him go free, because he was not used to the wild, and considered humans his food source.

Wolverine - Vielfraß
2008, the first wolverine have been seen since 80 years in California.  He is still around, and marking the territory like crazy, probably looking for a mate. According to genetic testing, he came from Idaho. Did he walk all the way, or did he get kidnapped?

Human - Mensch
Hmm, what are those?

Turkey Vulture - Truthahngeier
Prolific in California, great to look at in the country. 

Snake - Schlange
Snakes have a bad reputation, but I think they are quite lovely. We have them sometimes in the garden (look like a little red garden hose). They make me happy when I see them in the wild.

Jelly Fish - Qualle
At the Baltic sea, the beaches are often swamped with jelly fish. Fortunately, it is usually not the poisonous type. The Monterey aquarium has an amazing exhibition of pretty jelly fish.
Dried jelly fish in Chinese food is a bit tasteless, the sauce it usually comes with is utterly important!

Chanterelle - Pfifferling
Most wonderful mushrooms in risotto!

Oyster Mushroom - Austernpilz
The only mushroom we see when we look for Chanterelles.

Baker's yeast - Bierhefe
In German, it's more commonly called "Beer yeast", talk about priorities!

Wheat - Weizen
What's not to like about a good bread (unless you are gluten intolerant, in which case you should buy your bread from Mariposa Baking). 

Beech - Buche
The tree of my childhood. Beech trees are prolific in northern Germany.

Crowfoot - Hahnenfuß
How I hated this weat!

Horsetail  - Ackerschachtelhalm
Pretty, old, nice ...


  1. Danke fuer die korrekte Erklaerung zu meinem Pilzexkurs. Die genauen Sachverhalte dazu habe ich nicht mehr gewusst, nur dass es so ist.

  2. Ameli: Ich meinte das nicht als Erklaerung sondern als Weiterfuehrung. War auch fuer mich gut, mal wieder den "Phylobaum" anzugucken.