It was formerly the custom to include with the Fungi the Schizomycetes or Bacteria, and the Myxomycetes or Mycetozoa; but the peculiar mode of growth and division, the cilia, spores and other peculiarities of the former, and the emission of naked amoeboid masses of protoplasm, which creep and fuse to streaming plasmodia, with special modes of nutrition and spore-formation of the latter, have led to their separation as groups of organisms independent of the true Fungi.
Interpreted in this way, the place of algae in the vegetable kingdom may be shown by means of a table: - ' Myxomycetes Thallophyta.
It has been accepted for some time now that the majority of the fungi proper fall into three main groups, the Phycomycetes, Ascomycetes and Basidiomycetes, the Schizomycetes and Myxomycetes (Mycetozoa) being considered as independent groups not coming under the true fungi.
Forms of which we only know certain stages, such as conidia, pycnidia, &c., and which there are reasons for regarding as merely the corresponding stages of higher forms. Saccardo also included about 400 species of Myxomycetes and 650 of Schizomycetes.
Observed originally by Engelmann in bacteria, by Stahl in myxomycetes, and by Pfeffer in ferns, mosses, &c., it has now become recognized as a widespread phenomenon.