Fungal Forteana / Fortean Fungi

OneWingedBird

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Ha, ha, I know a man eating plant, its the atheletes foot fungus...

Sorry to be a bit of a pedant, but fungi has a taxonomic kingdom to itself, it's not part of the vegetable kingdom.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Congo Fungi

Giant Mushroom Baffles Experts in Congo

Fri May 28, 2004 09:57 AM ET



BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - A giant three-tiered mushroom which measures a meter (yard) across and was found in the tropical forests of the Republic of Congo has left experts in the capital Brazzaville scratching their heads.

"It's the first time we've ever seen a mushroom like this so it's difficult for us to classify. But we are going to determine what it is scientifically," Pierre Botaba, head of Congo's veterinary and zoology center, told reporters on Thursday.

The giant fungi stands 18 inches high and has three tiered caps on top of a broad stem. The bottom cap measures one meter across, the second one 60 cm and the top one is 24 cm wide, Botaba said.

The bizarre-looking mushroom was found in the village of Mvoula about 38 miles from Brazzaville and transported carefully to the capital by the local chief.

.reuters.com/newsArticle.jhtml?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=5288301
Link is dead. The MIA webpage (quoted in full above) can be accessed via the Wayback Machine:
https://web.archive.org/web/2004060...le.jhtml?type=oddlyEnoughNews&storyID=5288301


I want to see some pictures!!

Emps
 
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James_H

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thanks for posting this, the link on the breaking news didn;t work.
 

gordonrutter

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Re: Congo Fungi

Emperor said:
[Giant Mushroom Baffles Experts in Congo

Fri May 28, 2004 09:57 AM ET



BRAZZAVILLE (Reuters) - A giant three-tiered mushroom which measures a meter (yard) across and was found in the tropical forests of the Republic of Congo has left experts in the capital Brazzaville scratching their heads.

"It's the first time we've ever seen a mushroom like this so it's difficult for us to classify. But we are going to determine what it is scientifically," Pierre Botaba, head of Congo's veterinary and zoology center, told reporters on Thursday.

The giant fungi stands 18 inches high and has three tiered caps on top of a broad stem. The bottom cap measures one meter across, the second one 60 cm and the top one is 24 cm wide, Botaba said.

The bizarre-looking mushroom was found in the village of Mvoula about 38 miles from Brazzaville and transported carefully to the capital by the local chief. Emps

Because of the way mushrooms grow it is not unusual for them to grow
together and merge so there is no reason why there shouldn't be a three
tiered version and as for size no problems there either (largest recorded is
over two metres in diameter) so impressive but nothing more than that. And
why bother quoting the head of the vetinary and zoology Centre - why should
that person know aything about mushrooms - not his job.

Gordon (who does know about mushrooms)
 
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TheQuixote

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I know it isn't Congo but still it is good enough for a tenuous link to this, it is a giant mushie for its kind apparently.

Q- who knows naff all about mushrooms. :)

Monster mushroom found in field

A giant mushroom measuring four times the size of a football has been found by a couple in Aberdeenshire.
The unusual find, discovered growing in a field, measures 3ft long and weighs about 9kg.


Scientists have identified the mushroom as a gigantic puff-ball (Calvatia Gigantea), a variety of the fungi rarely found in Scotland.

Ian Wakley, who found the mushroom, said he wanted to eat it but his wife Judith would not let him.

[...]

The couple have handed their mushroom over to scientists at the University of Aberdeen.

Fungi expert Dr David Genney revealed that it was common to find the mushroom in England rather than Scotland.

But he added: "It's an amazing size - you don't come across these everyday.

"A 9kg mushroom is a pretty big one.

"I can't say if it is record or not but it would be interesting to find out."

BBCi News 26/06/04
 
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fluffle9

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puffballs are edible too. most spectacular when stuffed.
i wonder how many people a 22kg one would feed!

the thought of cooking giant mushies kind of makes me ponder the possibility of doing a meal of enormous food, with huge mushrooms, fried ostrich eggs and anything else huge that could be found.
 

punychicken

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Fungus is World's Largest Organism

Giant Fungus

What is probably the largest living organism on earth has been discovered in the Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon. A fungus living three feet underground is estimated to cover 2,200 acres. After testing samples from various locations, scientists say it is all one organism.

One Thousand Football Fields

Officially known as Armillaria ostoyae, or the honey mushroom, the fungus is 3.5 miles across and takes up 1,665 football fields. The small mushrooms visible above ground are only the tip of the iceberg.

Experts estimate that the giant mushroom is at least 2,400 years old, but could be 7,200 years old.

Previously, the world's largest organism was another Armillaria ostoyae, which covers a mere 1,500 acres near Mt. Adams in Washington state.

A Web of Tentacles

Scientists became interested in that section of forest when trees began to die. The honey mushroom uses tentacles, called rhizomorphs, to take water and nutrients from roots, killing trees.

The process benefits the ecosystem by creating clearings where new plants grow. Animals, such as woodpeckers, live in the dead tree trunks. Mushrooms also recycle nutrients
Dry Climate Helps

The dry climate of eastern Oregon discourages competition from new growth, leaving space for mushrooms already established.
Genetically Closer to People

In other research, scientists have determined that fungi are more closely related to human beings and animals than to other plants.

Moreover, while humans and most species are divided into only two sexes, mushrooms contain over 36,000 sexes.
 
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lemonpie3

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the thought of cooking giant mushies kind of makes me ponder the possibility of doing a meal of enormous food, with huge mushrooms, fried ostrich eggs and anything else huge that could be found.

How about giant squid?
Saw a TV program (Japanese TV of course - very Clive James) they got one of these 7m long swuid that sometimes get washed up in typhoons. Took it to a famous squid restaurant, had the chef cook it.

It was disgusting. Salty car tyre.
 

fluffle9

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lemonpie said:
How about giant squid?
Saw a TV program (Japanese TV of course - very Clive James) they got one of these 7m long swuid that sometimes get washed up in typhoons. Took it to a famous squid restaurant, had the chef cook it.

It was disgusting. Salty car tyre.

hahahaha. good call - didn't think of animals myself, being a vegetarian. doesn't squid require an awful lot of beating to make it edible, or is that octopus? because on a 7m squid that might take a while.
 
A

Anonymous

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Go the whole hog ( as it were).

Colossal squid

Deep frozen mammoth

Blue whale steaks

All cooked over a sequoia barbecue.



Um, now that I think about it, that menu isn't exactly environmentally friendly.
Oh well, another dream shattered. Sigh.
 

Mighty_Emperor

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Monday September 27, 12:07 AM


Gigantic mushroom stuns Swiss scientists

BIRMENSDORF, Switzerland (AFP) - Swiss scientists have discovered what they think may be the biggest mushroom in Europe, a monster fungus the length of eight football pitches and mostly lurking underground.
The mushroom, which covers a whopping 35 hectares (86 acres) area in a Swiss national park near the eastern town of Ofenpass is thought to be more than 1,000 years old, forestry experts say.

The mushroom, which is 800 metres (yards) long and 500 metres wide, is of the armillaria type, according to the Swiss Federal Institute Forest, Snow and Countryside Research (WSL).

It consists of a vast network of sometimes very thick filaments which reach out along the path of tree roots in the mountainous, wooded region.

The visible parts of the mushroom that poke out above the ground or on the boughs of trees are the tip of the iceberg, representing a tiny part of the vast undersoil organism.

Some species within the family are formidable parasites which invade trees, gradually strangling them. They have been blamed for the widespread destruction of pines within the national park, a WSL statement said.

One reason why the fungus may have survived for so long undetected and untroubled is that it is only edible when young, and even then is not a favourite with lovers of mushrooms.

http://uk.news.yahoo.com/040926/323/f3d08.html
 

_Lizard23_

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Armillaria bulbosa, the Honey Mushroom, is thought to be the world’s oldest and largest living thing : a single specimen spreads under some 2200 acres somewhere in Oregan. It is believed to be over two thousand years old and to weigh more than a hundred tons.

Maybe it's that. Fungi aren't exactly plants though .....
 

gyrtrash

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Aha! Cheers Liz! :D

That sounds about right.

Aren't fungi parasitic plants? They just can't be arsed making their own food?
 

gyrtrash

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I wasn't knocking their parasitic nature, just saying that they are still classed as plants.
:)

I like them too, Gordon.
 
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Anonymous

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The fact that fungi are not plants has for some childish reason terrified me for ages. The logic is that that if they're live and they're not plants they must be closer to animals, then. Stupid, stupid me. Even the most basic biology books classify living things as either plants animals or fungi*, but still. Ok, no mushroom phobia here.. :roll:

*=under which catergory does bacteria go? I'm not even going to ask about viruses, since I was taught they aren't actually living things. So what are they then?
 
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Min Bannister

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Veruca Salt said:
*=under which catergory does bacteria go? I'm not even going to ask about viruses, since I was taught they aren't actually living things. So what are they then?
Bacteria go in the kingdom Monera. They are so diverse though there was a move to have a 6th kingdom, Archea to accomodate some of the weirder ones. I'm a bit out of touch so I don't know whether that has been accepted or not.

Edit, the 4th kingdom is protists, usually single celled animals that may be animal like or plant like, often a combination of both.
 
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Anonymous

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I't become apparent as we study dna further, that the old 3/4/5/6 kingdom system was inadequate to cover the full diversity of life. A system of "domains" is now often used.

http://www.fossilmuseum.net/Tree_of_Lif ... n_page.htm

basically, pretty much of everything is bacteria. You are more closely related to some kinds of bacteria than that bacteria is to, well, other kinds of bacteria.
 

ramonmercado

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Published online: 11 June 2007; | doi:10.1038/news070611-1

Amber collectors hit on oldest mushroom find
100-million-year-old fungus brings hints of Cretaceous ecology.
Virginia Gewin


Mushroom hunting in amber brought this prize specimen.

Poinar G. & Buckley R. Mycological Research

OREGON An unusual fossil-hunting team has hit upon an unusual discovery: the oldest found mushroom fossil yet, encased in amber along with a striking example of a parasite feeding upon a parasite. Dated to 100 million years ago by the age of material surrounding the amber, the mushroom joins the exclusive company of just a handful of fossilized fleshy fungal bodies ever found.

The chance of finding such a specimen is tiny. But, George Poinar, an Oregon State University zoologist and president of The Amber Institute, in Corvallis, Oregon, and Ron Buckley, a registered nurse and amateur fossil hunter from Florence, Kentucky, were the lucky amber-obsessed duo to discover it.

Poinar's fossil interest is a family affair — sparked when his mother showed him pictures of beetles in amber. His subsequent scientific career investigating amber proved inspiration for the movie Jurassic Park.

Buckley's amber fascination is also a money-making venture. Over the past decade, he has sifted through 20,000 pieces of amber, primarily from Burma. He sells collectable pieces with trapped bugs or flowers on eBay, an online auction website. Over time, he's honed a sharp eye for pieces of scientific interest — which he sends to Poinar. So far, they say they have discovered the oldest-known bee, the oldest-known flowers in amber and the oldest-known ticks. Their oldest find yet is a 130 million-year-old nematode parasite of a fly.

Mushroom tree

Unfortunately, the mushroom fossil, reported in Mycological Research1, won't shed any particular light on mushroom evolution. Previous studies of modern mushroom DNA help to show that mushrooms must have appeared more than 100 million years ago, so it's mere existence isn't surprising. Another amber-preserved mushroom specimen has previously been found from the Cretaceous period (145-65 million years ago) — a sample holding two gilled mushrooms from 90-94 million years ago, found in New Jersey.

To learn more, they would need to extract DNA from such samples, to help slot them into their specific place in the mushroom family tree. This could help to fine-tune 'molecular clock' studies, which use comparisons of mushroom genomes to help date when different species diverged in the past. "If it was possible to confidently ascribe the fossils to specific taxonomic classification, then these findings might be helpful for constraining dates in molecular clock studies," says David Hibbett, a mycologist at Clark University in Worcester, Massachusetts, who has studied the previous Cretaceous mushroom find2.

But it is impossible to determine from visual inspection of this specimen the taxonomic category the mushroom belongs to, and it's not possible to extract its DNA, says Rytas Vilgalys, a mycologist at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina.

Poinar's team has extracted DNA from other amber-encased specimens — notably a 125-million-year-old weevil3. But such claims have met with skepticism in the scientific community due to concerns about contamination of the genetic material. Regardless, Poinar says he has no plans to extract DNA from the mushroom. "With a specimen so rare, we don't want to destroy it," he says.

All around the world

Though lacking scientific utility in evolution studies, the specimen does shed light on prehistoric mushroom ecology. Poinar's specimen was found in Asia, while Hibbett's Cretaceous mushroom was found in New Jersey, indicating that they were wide-spread at the time.


Poinar also analyzed the amber using nuclear magnetic resonance and compared it to the spectra obtained from modern tree resins. This hints that the amber came from a member of the Araucariaceae family such as kauri pine, leading Poinar to believe this ancient forest was similar to modern forests in northern New Zealand.

The amber also holds the remains of an ancient parasitic relationship. The sample contains a mycoparasite, or fungus growing on the mushroom, and a hyperparasite growing on the mycoparasite. Poinar first noted the characteristic threads of the mycoparasite growing over the mushroom cap, which the parasite uses to enter and consume the mushroom. Then he noticed the strands of a hyperparasite that had invaded the mycelium to absorb its nutrients. "Even a well-trained field mycologist might not recognize that in the field," says Vilgalys. But Buckley knew he had something special the minute he saw it.

Visit our newsblog to read and post comments about this story.



References
Poinar G. & Buckley R. Mycological Research, 111 . 503 - 506 (2007).
Hibbett D. S., Grimaldi D. & Donoghue M. J. Nature, 377 . 487 (1995). | Article |
Cano A., et al. Nature, 363 . 536 - 538 (1993). | Article |
 

eburacum

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Fungi are supposed to be slightly closer to animals than plants, and they are definitely weird.

Some basidiomycota have thousands of different sexes, called 'mating types'
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mating_type
Each mating type is fertile with most or all of the others, but not with itself.
 

Treesong

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*=under which catergory does bacteria go? I'm not even going to ask about viruses, since I was taught they aren't actually living things. So what are they then?

Viruses generally aren't considered "life" because they don't fulfill the functions required for a living organism, they don't respire or take in nutrition. But they are undoubtedly active even if they have no metabolism. They seem to be somewhere between actual living cells, and simple rogue DNA elements like transposons.
 
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gordonrutter

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Without a proper microscopic examination it's impossible to tell, the closet thing I can think of with the attendant characteristics is a Honey Fungus. So if I had a sample to check that would be my working hypothesis.
 

Min Bannister

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A giant giant puffball found near Polmont.

A countryside ranger has discovered an enormous puffball mushroom weighing almost two stone.

Fiona Wishart, a ranger with Falkirk Council, found the 1st 9lbs (10.6kg) mushroom as she did her rounds at a site near Polmont on Monday.

She needed help from a colleague to carry the 1.5m (59in) mushroom back to their office inside a coat.

They later cut up the mushroom and shared it between 15 people, who took it home to cook.
 

gordonrutter

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A giant giant puffball found near Polmont.
A countryside ranger has discovered an enormous puffball mushroom weighing almost two stone.
Fiona Wishart, a ranger with Falkirk Council, found the 1st 9lbs (10.6kg) mushroom as she did her rounds at a site near Polmont on Monday.
She needed help from a colleague to carry the 1.5m (59in) mushroom back to their office inside a coat.
They later cut up the mushroom and shared it between 15 people, who took it home to cook.

In fact its the biggest one found since the last one they reported on!
Glad these get reported and with photographs too.
 

uair01

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Saw this beauty a few days ago. Artomyces pyxidatus (I think) in a Rotterdam city park. Same spot as last year. The book says it's very rare. I doubt that a bit, because I'm a bloody beginner and can't believe I could have found something rare.
http://www.mushroomexpert.com/artomyces_pyxidatus.html

fungi20.jpg

fungi21.jpg
 
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