Definitions of fungi

  1. See Fungus.
  2. A group of thallophytic plants of low organization, destitute of chlorophyll, in which reproduction is mainly accomplished by means of asexual spores, which are produced in a great variety of ways, though sexual reproduction is known to occur in certain Phycomycetes, or so- called algal fungi.
  3. A large natural order of acotyledonous or cryptogamous plants, 5000 being known, varying greatly in size, form, color, and consistence. Under the name fungus botanists comprehend not only the various races of mushrooms, toadstools, and similar plants, but a large number of microscopic plants growing upon other plants, and substances which are known as moulds, mildew, smut, rust, brand, dry- rot, etc. Fungi agree with algae and lichens in their cellular structure, which is, with very few exceptions, void of anything resembling vascular tissue, but differ from them in deriving their nutriment from the body on which they grow, not from the medium by which they are surrounded. They are among the lowest forms of vegetable life, and, from the readiness with which they spring up in certain conditions, their germs are supposed to be floating in the atmosphere in incalculable numbers. Some diseases are produced by fungi. Fungi differ from other plants in being nitrogenous in composition, and in inhaling oxygen and giving out carbonic acid gas.
  4. An order of plants.
  5. A large natural order of cellular and flowerless plants, comprehending the several varieties of mushrooms, toadstools, and the microscopic plants which form mildew, mould, & c. See Fungus.