Mushrooms – The Non-Vegetable

Don’t these look delicious? The white ones are eringi (also known as the king oyster mushroom) and the brown ones are maitake (also known as hen-of-the-woods). I prefer the maitake, and they’re one of my favourite mushrooms. I ate them tonight.


But that’s not what I wanted to talk about. I often see people refer to mushrooms as vegetables. Vegetables are plants. Mushrooms are not plants, so therefore, cannot be classified as vegetables. Mushrooms are a fungus. They’re totally different than plants. I’ve seen somewhere that mushrooms have more in common with animals than with plants. So, why are they always called vegetables?

What would you classify them as?

13 thoughts on “Mushrooms – The Non-Vegetable”

  1. It grows from the ground like plant. Though it certainly doesn’t look like a plant. Are they in the vegetable/produce section of the grocery store? Though they are in class of their own.

    1. But they don’t grow from the ground like a plant. They don’t grow from seeds, they grow from spores. Many grow on trees, many grow on other surfaces. Some grow in insects and control them. Never seen a plant do that. Although lichen is actually a fungus with algae.

  2. They are fungi. I used to use this fact when playing 20 questions on a car trip. Someone always asked if it were animal, mineral, or vegetable and I answered none of the above.

    1. They’re plants. Probably one of the most important plants, since they not only provide a large percentage of the world’s oxygen, they’re also food for many small fish and other aquatic life.

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