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Film: Discovering Amazing Fungi in India

Plain English

Close-up of 6 green glowing umbrella-shaped mushrooms in the dark.

These glowing fungi are called Mycena chlorophos.

The photograph of these luminous Mycena chlorophos mushrooms is by Stephen Axford. He says: "It is magic going into the forest at night and turning off your torch. Pinpricks of light show in the undergrowth and on closer inspection they are these beautiful glowing fungi."


There are many types of fungi. Some are poisonous. Only experts know which ones can be eaten. Never eat wild mushrooms that haven’t been checked by experts!


Fungi are yeasts, rusts, smuts, mildews, molds, and mushrooms. There are about 144,000 known species of Fungi organisms.


Bright red, fat umbrella-shaped mushroom.

This is a fat red bolete mushroom photographed by Stephen Axford.


A cluster of umbrella shaped orange colored fungi looking like sponges.

These fungi are called Favolaschia calocera.


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The Documentary Film Planet Fungi

Planet Fungi is a documentary film by Catherine Marciniak and Stephen Axford. It is about discovering mushrooms in the woods of the Himalayan mountains.

The movie shows 232 types of fungi Catherine and Stephen discovered and photographed in India. They took four weeks to do this in the Indian states of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh, and Meghalaya.

Catherine Marciniak says, “Of the 232 types of mushrooms, 58 can be eaten. 64 are used in making medicines. We may have found 34 new types. The local Balipara Foundation invited us to work with them to document the fungi knowledge of these remote regions and the rich natural environment."


The Filmmakers

Catherine Marciniak is a senior features reporter, director, writer, editor and cinematographer.

"Fungi is a huge obsession that has changed our lives." Catherine says. "We love the forms, colors, and the fascinating diversity of fungi. We love being in the forest. And, we love that we are helping to document one of the largest kingdoms of life on the planet."

Stephen Axford photographs fungi all over the world.

Stephen Axford is over 50 years old and white skinned. He is wearing dark clothes and a light bobble hat, standing behind a camera on a tripod, in the woods.

Stephen was a software engineer till his late 50s. After he retired, he started taking photos of mushrooms. His example shows it’s never too late to take up an interest. He even has a mushroom in China named after him - Panaeolus axfordii.

He says: “Without fungi, there would be no forests. There’s fungus everywhere—even inside us. It’s a whole kingdom which up until 10 years ago we’ve known very little about. That’s because most of it happens underground. We only ever see it when it fruits.”


The Planet Fungi film shows mushrooms and fungi you have never seen before.

A cluster of tiny pale pink, umbrella-shaped mushrooms growing out of a moss covered, old piece of wood.

These fungi are called Pink Mycena.


Mushroom with bright orange spikes. It looks like flames.

The Flame Fungus is found in Tasmania.


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A group of small pale yellow fungi, shaped like rosettes.

A beautiful little yellow cup fungus.

Stephen’s images of mushrooms have been featured in leading science and nature magazines across the globe. His exquisite time-lapses of fungi growing are showcased in the award-winning documentaries Planet Earth 2, Hostile Planet, Our Planet, The Kingdom – How Fungi Made The Earth and Fantastic Fungi.


A bright blue umbrella shaped mushroom.

This mushroom is called Entoloma hochstetteri.


Time-lapse photography

Stephen Axford uses time-lapse photography to show how the mushrooms grow. Time-lapse photography means to take a series of photos and combine them to create a video. It shows things moving at a much faster speed than in reality.


Time-lapse film of the Flower Pot fungi.


Very small, orange colored,  cup shaped fungi with fine white hairs sticking out in all directions.

These fungi are called Cookeina tricholoma.

Stephen photographed these in Nabanhe, Xishuangbanna, China. He says: "I presume that the hairs are a defence against being eaten."


3 mushrooms with white stalks and pale blue, egg-shaped cap.

A blue Coprinopsis species.

This photograph by Stephen Axford is a still from a time lapse sequence that appeared on Planet Earth 2 with David Attenborough.


View of the fungi from below. They are white, round, and have a structure similar to cabbage leaves.

These fungi are called Campanella.

This is a view of the Campanella from below. Stephen says they remind him of lace curtains.


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A green umbrella shaped mushroom hidden among moss.

This mushroom is called Hygrocybe graminicolor.


A group of umbrella shaped mushrooms with white stems and bright orange cap.

These mushrooms are called Mycena adonis.

Stephen photographed these mushrooms close to his home in Australia. He combines a passion for photographing mushrooms with his other great love – spending time in the forest.


Close-up of small purple colored, umbrella-shaped mushroom

This mushroom is a Crinipellis.

Stephen discovered this mushroom in the Booyong Reserve in Australia. He collected some samples as this is quite possibly a new species.


Watch the Planet Fungi movie trailer.


You can watch the complete Planet Fungi film right now.

Click here to find out how.


The Deluxe version of the movie includes 25 minutes Fungi Photography Masterclass by Stephen Axford. It covers taking a photograph with a digital camera or a smartphone.


Sources: Planet Fungi

*Quotes are edited to Plain English.*

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