World’s Largest Mushroom

2.4 miles across!

The World’s largest organism is a  … tree, elephant, blue whale? Nope. At 2 miles across. you can’t even see most of this MUSHROOM. Armillaria solidipes (formerly Armillaria ostoyae) – also called the honey mushroom.

The largest mushroom found, so far, is 2.4 miles across and is located in the Blue Mountains of Oregon. This fungus colony is over 2400 years old. The fungi begin their life as spores, released into the environment by a mature mushroom.

When mycelia (vegetative part of a fungus, consisting of a mass of branching) from genetically identical A. solidipes (species of mushrooms) meet, they can fuse to form one individual. In 1998, the US Forestry Service noticed a lot of trees dying in the Malheur National Forest in east Oregon.

Sixty one of the trees affected had been struck down by the same clonal colony. The problem with Armillaria is that it can remain viable in stumps for 50 years – and it’s almost impossible to get it out. It kills the tree with “white rot” and then thrives on the rotted material. Oh yeah, honey mushrooms are also delicious.

People had ideas that maybe they were big but nobody had any idea they were that big. Well it’s certainly the biggest publicity that mycology is going to get—maybe ever

Tom Volk, a biology professor at the University of Wisconsin–La Crosse

While amazing, this mushroom is a parasite and needs to be destroyed since it can cause massive damage. People have used photoshop to create fake images of giant mushrooms that they claim to be this parasite, but they are just that…fake. This is a photo of one such image. Don’t be fooled.

Author: Doyle

I was born in Atlanta, moved to Alpharetta at 4, lived there for 53 years and moved to Decatur in 2016. I've worked at such places as Richway, North Fulton Medical Center, Management Science America (Computer Tech/Project Manager) and Stacy's Compounding Pharmacy (Pharmacy Tech).

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