Close up of a crater lichen

Fungi and lichens

Fungi are a large group of often inconspicuous organisms, but also include the more familiar mushrooms and toadstools. Perhaps the best known species in the United Arab Emirates is the desert truffle, which produces edible fruiting bodies underground. Within the UAE, lichens - organisms made up of a fungus in partnership with an alga - are most frequently found in rocky environments, particularly in the mountainous areas in the east of the country.