Neither Plant nor Animal
Funguses are hard to pin down. In the kingdom of life forms, they are neither plants nor animals, even though their appearance may be misleading. Fungi (pronounced FUN-ji) have cells with a membrane around them like plants but they don’t have leaves or flowers and don’t depend on the sun to make their own food. They feed on living or dead matter found around them in a parasitic relationship.
Not an animal, still, fungal cell walls are tough. Called chitin, this type of material is like the outer skeleton of insects.
They are also not like bacteria, which do not have a membrane. And fungus may have one cell, or many cells, being multicellular.
Plants reproduce, but fungi multiply in different ways. So scientists decided to give fungus their own kingdom names. Each fungus has a binomial—or two-part name—that defines its genus and species: like a classification. A button mushroom for example, is Agaricus bi-sporus, a Latin name. Their popular names are much more fun: “witches butter", “dead man’s fingers" and “jack-o-lantern" and others have been tagged throughout history.