In real life, fungi and plants are entirely distinct types of life — fungi are in fact more closely related to animals, and like them lack chlorophyll and rely on absorbing nutrients from the outside world rather than making their own through photosynthesis. However, to a casual observer, the most immediately striking thing about fungi is that they're immobile, grow from the ground, and generally seem to act as part of the inactive, background flora rather than the active animal kingdom. As such, they've been treated as part of the botanical world for much of history, and fiction often tends to confuse them with plants as well.
Typically, purportedly vegetal and fungal creatures will end up with traits properly belonging to the other category, with fungi and fungus creatures sporting green pigmentation, flowers or leaves and the like. It's also rather common for Plant Persons and Planimals to draw visual inspiration from fungi in their designs. Often, games that divide their monsters in multiple will also place strictly fungal creatures within the same gameplay category as plants.
Subtrope of Artistic License Biology.
- Magic: The Gathering: Saprolings are small, weak creatures intended to represent animated scraps of plant matter. In practice, they alternate on being visibly vegetal, clearly fungal, or of indeterminate appearance between sets. They are also strongly associated with the thallids, which are clearly fungus people.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: Certain Plant-type monsters are actually fungi, like Mushroom Man.
- Courtney Crumrin and the Night Things: Lampshaded. Courtney is told to gather plants for a spell and chided for including mushrooms in her findings. This also shows her how using magic to get out of actually learning in her classes would still be to her detriment as a witch.
- Poison Ivy: The titular character has occasionally controlled fungi with her Green Thumb, despite her powers explicitly drawing from the Green. In DC lore, this is the mystical force with domain over plants, while fungi fall under the domain of the Grey, a different being.
- Dungeons & Dragons: Fungal enemies, such as the shrieker or violet fungus, are generally listed as belonging to the Plant creature type.
- In 1st edition, all fungus-based creatures — such as vegepigmies, moldwretches, violet fungi, and the like — are considered part of the Plant creature type. This is averted in 2nd Edition, which introduces a distinct Fungus type into which these creatures are reclassified.
- Leshies are a type of small plant people created from spirits inhabiting bodies grown from special plants. Most are based on species of true plants such as broad-leaved trees, Venus flytraps, pumpkins, lotuses, cacti, and so on. The exceptions are fungus and lichen leshies, which are grown from fungal bases.
- Tropes involving fungi are subtropes of Plant Tropes.
- Fallout: New Vegas: The infection that turns humans into mindless spore carriers is fungal in nature — it's specifically identified as an engineered strain of Beauveria, a real-life fungus that does this very thing to insects. Spore carriers, however, are depicted as green-skinned plant people. Their infection is also spread from leafy, flytrap-like "spore plants", and they're consistently associated with botanical experiments and lush plant life.
- Guild Wars 2: The Sylvari are Plant People who all grew from a single tree, but some of them have mushrooms for hair.
- Jade Cocoon 2: The Leif genus of beasts consists of monsters that resemble giant plants, but also includes three that look like mushrooms: Mash, Mush, and Shroomie.
- Ōkami: The game requires players to raise the sun to encourage mushroom platforms to grow as if they were plants that rely on photosynthesis. Mushrooms are also affected by the Greensprout's "bloom" technique, which helps plants heal and grow.
- Plants vs. Zombies: Various kinds of mushrooms are among the titular "plants" that players can grow on their lawns. The catch is, theyre nocturnal, and are only useful when its night out (unless you give them a Coffee Bean).
- Pikmin 2: The large patches of white fungus that can be found growing over and covering berry-producing plants in certain areas of the game are referred to by the ship as a "moldlike botanical entity", and it also reports that it can detect "other plant life" suffocating beneath it.
- Pokémon: Several Pokémon, such as the Paras, Shroomish, Foongus, and Morelull lines, are based on fungi of various types, being either animal/mushroom mixes or simply ambulatory toadstools. They're also all Grass-types.
- Spyro: Year of the Dragon: In Charmed Ridge, there's an area based around Jack and the Beanstalk where the "Jack" in question offers you various magic beans Spyro needs to use to reach the golden goose. One type of bean grows into flower platforms, while the other grows into bouncy mushrooms and works exactly the same as all other seed/plant-based puzzle elements.
- Historically, fungi have been treated as plants and studied under botany because of their outward similarities to plants. While mycology has been recognized as a distinct field of science from botany and zoology, it's still common for fungi to be placed under flora sections of nature books and field guides.