“Fungi provide the key to understanding the planet on which we live and the ways we think, feel and behave. Yet they live their lives largely hidden from view and over ninety percent of their species remain undocumented.” So explains Merlin Sheldrake in his fascinating book “Entangled Life.” Read this book review to discover more about the role of fungi in our lives.
Reviewed by Marjory Blare, Master Gardener
Merlin Sheldrake's book Entangled Life will fascinate you with the many hundreds of ways, (good and bad) in which fungi affect our planet; from billion-dollar world-wide crop damage, to helping fight Colony Collapse Disorder in bees and even helping it rain! Without fungi, we wouldn't have antibiotics, beer, wine or some kinds of bread or that black gold called compost. Plants have formed a symbiotic relation with fungi, which helps the plants take in phosphorous and nitrogen. Fungi can be found not just around the roots but also between the cells of some plants. Did you know that slime molds can “run” mazes”? There are even fungi that “hunt” and digest nematodes.
Sheldrake takes us on his journey of discovery while researching fungi. You'll read about exotic locals, exhausting field work, and his experience of participating in an LSD study on whether or not a scientist's mind can solve problems that formerly stumped them while on LSD.
Sheldrake doesn't hesitate to speculate on the possibly world-view changing implications of his field of research. You will take away a humbling understanding of our world and its interconnections.
Photo Credit: Merlin Sheldrake "Entangled Life" book jacket