Rusts, smuts, puffballs, chanterelles and Shiitake mushrooms are all examples of club fungi. Club fungi, or Basidiomycota, comprise one of the largest groups of fungi.
Three subphyla comprise the club fungi. Pucciniomycotina contains mostly parasitic plant rusts. These fungi affect the flowers, stems and fruits of vigorously growing plants, often restricting their growth but not killing them. Wind, water and insects disperse the fungal spores that stick to and penetrate the plant to usurp its resources. Rust fungi include coffee rust, white pine blister rust and daylily rust.
The subphylum Ustilaginomycotina contains predominantly smut fungi, which affect herbaceous plants such as grasses and grains. Smuts infect the aboveground parts of plants, creating large, fleshy galls. Corn and onion smut both belong to this subphylum.
The subphylum Agaricomycotina comprises about 20,000 species, nearly one third of the world's fungi. Most of these fungi are decomposers that obtain nutrients from decaying organic material. Mushrooms, puffballs and bracket fungi are a part of this group. Most edible species, such as chanterelles, shiitake and bolete, also belong to Agaricomycotina. Other members of this group are hallucinogenic or toxic and unfit for consumption, while a few are important timber and agricultural pathogens. Many yeasts also belong this large subphylum.