Frosty Plortshrub

With competition of the large flora niche in the Dingus Tundra being pretty minimal beyond the northern areas, a population of mushroom trees would evolve to take advantage of such a niche. This would result in the Frosty Plortshrub, the largest species of “Mushroom” to have evolved thus far. This larger size does give the taxon some protection against the cold, though it's dark coloration also helps take in as much sunlight as it can while the sun is out. In a case of convergent evolution with species like the Dusty Plortwort, the Frosty Plortshrub regained functional plastids within their tissues for photosynthesis and turned some of their stalks into leafy branches to gather sunlight.

The tissues of the Frosty Plortshrub has thickened to act as protection from the main herbivore of the Dingus Tundra, the Shagguliz, while it also still retains high amounts of lead to protect it from ambient levels of background radiation. While these serve it well enough, the Frosty Plortshrub also needed to live through the cold and dark winter months in the Tundra. The species still has antifreeze compounds in their tissues to protect them from the cold, but the lack of sunlight meant photosynthesis was not an option. Because of this, the Frosty Plortshrub has an advantage over other species of tundra flora in that it can fall back on its saprotrophic habits inherited from its ancestors to get enough energy to make it through the winters.

When it comes to reproduction, the Frosty Plortshrub grows in its spore caps during the warm summer months, with the spore caps eventually bursting open so their spores can be carried a decent distance by the wind so they can be deposited somewhere else in the tundra. The Frosty Plortshrub also employs another reproductive strategy, however, by luring the local fauna like Shagguliz or proto mamals to feed on their spore caps. Similarly to their distant Bigger Mushroom Bitches ancestors, the Frosty Plortshrub’s brightly colored spore caps are tasty and highly nutritious, making it worth the effort for fauna to reach for them to eat.

Similarly to the Bitchiphytes, the Frosty Plortshrub’s spores have developed a tough outer-casing so they can tolerate the digestive juices of whatever eats the cap so they can be deposited elsewhere. Due to its flexible reproductive capabilities and its adaptable ways of obtaining energy, the Frosty Plortshrub has become one of the most common species of flora within the Dingus Tundra.