I love everything mushroom and found this article interesting: Ten Mushroom Facts


Largest Organism on Earth

Credit: Olli Kilpi

Forget elephants and blue whales, the title of largest organism on Earth belongs to a fungus. A 2500-year-old specimen of Armillaria ostoyae , also known as the honey fungus, was discovered in Oregon's Malheur National Forest. Spanning over 2,240 acres and weighing around 35,000 tons, the "humongous fungus" - as it is endearingly called by Oregonians, proves that there is still a lot we don’t know about fungi.

A Secret Language

Credit: Mathew Schwartz

Amazingly, scientists have recently found out that fungi are capable of communicating with each other through their underground root-like structures called mycelium. This network of fungal threads allows fungi to absorb nutrients, transport water, and exchange information through electrical spikes. Some researchers even believe that this communication is done in word-like components.


Zombie Ants

Credit: Erich G. Vallery, USDA Forest Service

Cordyceps fungi have a chilling method of reproduction. In order to disperse its spores, first it infects ants and other insects, controlling their nervous systems and compelling them to climb to a higher vantage point. Eventually, the fungus bursts from the insect’s body, releasing its spores to reproduce and infect even more unsuspecting victims. Terrifying, eh?


Glowing Mushrooms

Credit: Igor Omilaev

Some fungi possess the extraordinary ability to produce their own light. While their bioluminescence is usually faint, these mushrooms’ otherworldly glow makes them visible in very dark places, like under the thick canopy of a forest. These luminescent species, such as the jack-o'-lantern mushroom , often use this trait to attract insects to ensure spore dispersal.


Medicinal Marvels

Credit: Irina Iacob

Fungi have been used in traditional medicine for centuries. Species like reishi , lion's mane , and chaga boast a myriad of health benefits, from boosting the immune system to improving cognitive function. Modern research continues to unveil the therapeutic potential of these fungi.


Fungal Sunscreen

Credit: Nyusha Svoboda

Did you know that certain fungi produce compounds that act as natural sunscreens? A set of compounds called Mycosporine-like amino acids (MAAs) shield organisms from harmful UV radiation and are found on a wide variety of fungal species as well as in lichens, algae, and even some marine animals. Currently, scientists are exploring these compounds for potential human applications, as they could represent a sustainable alternative to conventional sunscreen.


Mycelial Intelligence

Credit: Michael Schiffer

Despite lacking a centralized nervous system, fungi display a peculiar form of intelligence. They can adapt to changing environmental conditions, navigate complex networks to find resources, and even solve puzzles in laboratory experiments. Amazingly, fungi may even be capable of learning and remembering spatial information.


Beyond Earth’s Boundaries

Credit: NASA

Fungi can survive in the harshest environments, so it should come as no surprise that it can certainly thrive beyond Earth’s atmosphere. In 1988, the Russian space station Mir was almost completely colonized by an "aggressive space fungus," endangering both the crew and the station’s integrity. Apparently, fungi flourish in the absence of gravity - as their mechanism for spore dispersal is greatly enhanced without any force to bring them down.


Biological Partnerships

Credit: PerytonMango, CC BY-SA 4.0

Fungi form intricate partnerships with other organisms, from plants to insects. In particular, mycorrhizal fungi form symbiotic relationships with plant roots, aiding in the nutrient uptake process in exchange for sugars. Meanwhile, lichens represent a partnership between fungi and algae or cyanobacteria, which allows them to photosynthesize and thrive in diverse environments from barren deserts to polar regions.


Biofuel Potential

Credit: Maarten van den Heuvel

With the quest for sustainable energy sources intensifying, these complex organisms offer a promising solution. Certain fungi, like Trichoderma reesei , produce enzymes capable of breaking down plant cellulose into sugars, which can then be fermented into biofuels such as ethanol. Who knows, fungi might just be the answer to many of our modern problems!


Linda said…
Maybe fungi will rule one day? I had heard #1, and one or two others. Most of these facts I had never heard. I LOVE mushrooms!
The glowing ones! So cool!
Marcia LaRue said…
I hope Bev at Bee Haven Acres sees this post. She has posted so many blogs on the mushrooms 🍄 she finds in their 100 acre woods! It is fascinating! She forages for the delicious (and expensive) morels!
Guillaume said…
I love mushrooms because they are so autumnal.