Have you heard of the Oregon honey mushroom? It is a giant fungus that inhabits the fields of Oregon, in the United States and is the largest living organism in the world. This giant honey mushroom is called armillaria ostoyae and lives in the Malheur National Forest and is known as a honey mushroom.
Although it was born from a single spore that could not be seen without a microscope, began to develop until reaching an unusual size: 880 hectares, that is, about 1665 football fields. To the eye, he looks like a mushroom with multiple golden hats. It is edible although not very rich in flavor. It is considered the largest mushroom in the world. In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics, biology and curiosities of the largest mushroom in the world.
What is the largest mushroom in the world?
When we refer to the largest mushroom in the world we are pointing to the fruiting body and something very different is the largest mushroom in the world. In this case, we are referring to the set of fruiting bodies and the mycelium. Today, the largest mushroom in the world is located in Oregon and is found in the Malheur National Forest, in the United States. Scientific name is known as Armillaria ostoyae and it is a parasitic species that has achieved these enormous sizes.
Its mycelium extends for 965 hectares and estimated to be 8650 years old. Due to this size and its characteristics, it is also considered the largest living being in the world. It is a parasitic fungus that fructifies at the base of trees and can absorb nutrients through a species of and the so-called rhizomorphs. The mycelium is the underground part that allows it to absorb nutrients through certain types of so-called rhizomesgets into the root of the tree and obstructs its conducting vessels. If it stays long enough to cover the tree’s roots, it will die. Due to the existence of this type of fungi, there is a large amount of land where you can find numerous specimens of dead trees.
And the fact is that the Oregon fungus is only one of the 100.000 species of fungus that we know only that it has a somewhat special characteristic. Research began in the forests of Oregon in the late 90s. A large number of American scientists detected the presence of the Armillaria ostoyae and they began to investigate this phenomenon. The conclusion of these studies was that this fungus was the cause of the devastation of these hectares and hectares of dead trees.
Curiosities of the Oregon fungus
With more than 2400 years of life, this fungus has killed hundreds of trees with its rhizomorphic filaments. It was even because of this that it was discovered when scientist Catherine Parks began investigating the massive death of trees in this forest. During the investigation, he studied 112 DNA root samples and thus discovered that 61 of them had genetic remains that corresponded to the DNA of the fungus.
Until 1992 other Armillaria ostoyae found in Washington state was the largest living organism in the world but when the Oregon mushroom was found it soon topped the list by doubling the value of the Washington mushroom.
Just out of curiosity we can say that this is the largest living organism in the world. However, its growth is purely underground. In these underground environments is capable of extending up to an area of 10 square kilometers. Despite this enormous size, only a small percentage of the growth of this mushroom is what can be seen above the ground. Likewise, only this visible portion above the ground is what can be eaten.
It is a saprophytic fungus that can absorb nutrients from the soil and small plants such as fallen leaves or rotten wood. Scientists claim that this fungus is an effective decomposer of wood. From July to November, the fruiting bodies of the fungi can be seen in the soil.
How tall is the largest mushroom in the world?
The maximum diameter of the cap of this mushroom is 10 cm. It has a spherical and flared shape. Their skin is brown in color and covered in dark, wrinkled scales. These proportions are most obvious in the center of the hat. It has secondary leaves and is brownish-white in color. They get dirty easily when you touch them.
As for the foot, it is quite fibrous and has a light brown color with dark scales. The meat of this specimen is white and with a sweet taste at the beginning and bitter later. Although it is the largest species in the world, it is not that it has a remarkable size. If not, it escapes from spreading through the roots of the trees over hundreds of hectares.
We can confuse the Armillaria ostoyae with the Armillaria mellea. This is because the specimen is different in that it has no dark scales, hats, or feet. Regarding the habitat, we can find them in places where trees are grown. They are placed on trunks and stumps of deciduous trees. The maximum frequency and richness of this mushroom is surrounded by conifers.
The harvest season for this mushroom is in the fall. To cook it, we only need to discard the pie and remove the cooking water. It can be eaten cooked, but if it is not prepared properly, causes some symptoms of intoxication. For those who are newbies and do not know too much about this mushroom, we do not recommend collecting them. It is only used for effective cooking in side dishes or stews. Eating it alone is not recommended.
How much does the mushroom weigh Armillaria ostoyae?
You are at least 2500 years old, weighs about 400 tons (equivalent to the weight of three blue whales) and covers an area of 75 hectares, which means that it has around 140 soccer fields in size.
As you can see, nature can surprise us with its incredibly large organisms. I hope that with this information you can learn more about the largest mushroom in the world and what its characteristics and curiosities are.