Fun"gus (?), n.; pl. L. Fungi (#), E. Funguses (#). [L., a mushroom; perh. akin to a doubtful Gr. sponge, for ;if so, cf. E. sponge.]
Any one of the Fungi, a large and very complex group of thallophytes of low organization, -- the molds, mildews, rusts, smuts, mushrooms, toadstools, puff balls, and the allies of each.
The fungi are all destitute of chorophyll, and, therefore, to be supplied with elaborated nourishment, must live as saprophytes or parasites. They range in size from single microscopic cells to systems of entangled threads many feet in extent, which develop reproductive bodies as large as a man's head. The vegetative system consists of septate or rarely unseptate filaments called hyphæ the aggregation of hyphæ into structures of more or less definite form is known as the mycelium. See Fungi, in the Supplement.
A spongy, morbid growth or granulation in animal bodies, as the proud flesh of wounds.
© Webster 1913.