Come on a fascinating foray through the fungi kingdom in the Questacon foyer! Watch remarkable time-lapse videos of mushrooms growing and learn about how useful these mysterious lifeforms really are.

The Fungi Pillar showcases stunning photography and video by Australian photographer Stephen Axford and filmmaker Catherine Marciniak. They’ve even made a movie about fungi!

Be mesmerised by the diversity of shapes and colours of fungi. See how they differ, and how they are alike. Are they like any fungi you’ve seen before?

Explore a citizen science project on Australian fungi with Fungimap Australia! You can upload photos of fungi you’ve seen growing near your home or school. You can also see other people’s photographs to find out what species are growing in your area.

Did you know

Fungi are not plants. They’re more closely related to humans than plants are! Once upon a time, plants, animals and fungi all shared a common ancestor. Then, more than 1.5 billion years ago, this branch of the evolutionary tree split in half, with one branch evolving into modern plants. The second branch soon split again, and the organisms in these branches evolved into modern animals and fungi. Since branching off, fungi have grown super diverse. In fact, scientists guess that there might be 10 times more species of fungi as there are of plants!

Fungi include more than just mushrooms. Moulds and yeasts are also fungi. This means many of the foods and drinks we eat would not exist without fungi! Many cheeses, like blue-vein cheese and camembert, use moulds to improve their flavour. Bread and drinks like beer are made with yeasts, which are single-celled fungi.

Fungi even have an important role in modern medicine. The antibiotic penicillin originated from fungi. Other types of fungi are used for making certain vaccines, blood pressure medication and more.