Must all mushrooms grow close to a tree?
Nope! Mushrooms can be found in all kinds of environments. There are very few habitats in which absolutely zero mushrooms can be found. Even deserts can have a characteristic fungal flora, such as the stalked puffball, or adventurous specimens of Agaricus bitorquis, depending on where you live. Pretty much the only place you absolutely won’t find any mushrooms is in the ocean. (Fungi, yes, but not the type that produce what most people would consider a mushroom.) There is one known freshwater aquatic mushroom, but generally speaking, you won’t find mushrooms underwater.
Pretty much everywhere else, though? There’s at least a chance of finding some kind of mushroom. Grassy meadows, disturbed ground/wood chips, poop, even pupating insects - all can host mushrooms.
Of course, different species have their own habitats, just like plants and animals. You won’t find chanterelles in a brightly-lit grassland, or in wood chips on a road median - but you might find them beneath oak in the leafy duff. But if you were looking for psychedelic mushrooms, you could do a lot worse than checking local sedgegrass meadows and wood chip landscaping (especially near colleges and police stations…)
Some mushrooms will even come up along roadsides - or through the asphalt.
This Agaricus species likes salty air and sandy soil, and is most often found growing in the sand dunes that run along beaches.
Some species are only found near trees because they like the cones:
Some mushrooms will even invite themselves into your flower pots…
… or your home!
Never underestimate a fungus. As a group, mushrooms are incredibly diverse and successful. While some habitats have more mushrooms (both in terms of biomass and of diversity), it’s possible to find mushrooms almost anywhere you might decide to look! -X.
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