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10 Fascinating Fungi

A look at ten fungi with unique (and sometimes bizarre) attributes.
by

George Lantz

on 7 September 2012

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Transcript of 10 Fascinating Fungi

(Fomitiporia ellipsoidea) 1. Largest Fruit Body 2. Largest Living organism Honey Musrhoom (Armillaria solidipes) 4. Deadliest Mushroom "Death Cap" (Amanita phalloides) The death cap is native to Europe, where it is widespread
Conveyed to new countries across the southern hemisphere with the importation of hardwoods and conifers
Responsible for the majority of fatal mushroom poisonings worldwide Likely because of confusion with the popular "Paddy Straw" mushroom
Not common in North America (has been found in California)
Death caps have been reported to taste pleasant
Delay in the appearance of symptoms
First symptoms abdominal pain, with watery diarrhea and vomiting resolve two to three days after the ingestion
A more serious deterioration signifying liver involvement may then occur—jaundice, diarrhea, delirium, seizures, and coma
Death generally occurs six to sixteen days after the poisoning
Several historical figures may have died from Amanita phalloides poisoning (or other similar, toxic Amanitas). These were either accidental poisonings or assassination plots. Roman Emperor Claudius, Pope Clement VII, Tsaritsa Natalia Naryshkina, and Holy Roman Emperor Charles VI. Found in tropical woodland on Hainan Island, China in 2010
The specimen, which was 20 years old, was estimated to weigh between 400 and 500 kilograms (880 and 1,100 lb)
This was markedly larger than the previously largest recorded fruit body, a specimen of Rigidoporus ulmarius found in the United Kingdom, which had a circumference of 425 cm (167 in) Part 1. Size Matters. 3. Small (est?) Gilled Mushroom "Fairy Bonnet" (Mycena culmigena) Part 2. Morbid Fascination Part 3. Truly Unique 5. Forensics Fungi "Corpse Finder" (Hebeloma syriense) 6. Bioluminescent Mushroom The Jack O'Lantern (Omphalotus illudens) Common fall mushroom
Growing in large clusters on the stumps or buried roots of hardwoods, especially oaks
Some people have tried and failed to see the phenomenon There are roughly 70 known species of bioluminescent mushrooms in the genera Omphalotus, Armillaria, and Mycenoid
Their degrees of light intensity differ, and many North American species require adjustment to the dark before they can be seen ... Many Other Bioluminescent Fungi "The Jack O'Lantern is the focus of the largest and most insidious conspiracy in the mycological world. According to every field guide, and every other source of literature available for the species, its gills glow in the dark. All of these authors are lying, and they are in cahoots. See, what they enjoy is knowing that hundreds of amateur mushroomers, every fall, shut themselves into closets, bathrooms, and garages, eagerly peering through the darkness for hours, waiting for the Jack O'Lantern's gills to luminesce.

I have wasted at least three hours of my life in this endeavor, over the years. Three hours!"

Addendum 2005
"The conspiracy deepens. Also involved with perpetuating the glow-in-the-dark myth are several prominent mycologists, the entire Missouri Mycological Society, some mushroom loving students from Indiana, and--well, my own eyes. ...the luminescence is undeniable."

Micheal Kuo - mushroomexpert.com 7. Aquatic Mushroom (Psathyrella aquatica) First and currently only species of Basidiomycota with true gills that has been observed fruiting underwater
Found in clear, cold, flowing waters of the upper Rogue River in Oregon
Fruiting bodies develop and mature in the main channel, constantly submerged, near aquatic vegetation
Found in later summer and observed fruiting over 11 weeks 8. Rarest Mushroom "Devil's Cigar" (Chorioactis geaster) Said to be the rarest mushroom
Young specimens of C. geaster have a hollow, club-shaped dark-brown fruit body
The fruit body remains closed until shortly before spore discharge
Makes hissing sound when releasing spores
In Japan the mushroom is called kirinomitake because it resembles seed pods of kiri, the Empress tree Part 4. It's All In Your Mind 9. Mind Controlling Mushroom Cordyceps spp. ... Just AS poisonous and more common in North America. "Destroying Angel" (Amanita bisporigera) Common throughout North America
The white "sack" around the base, known as a "volva," resulting from the universal veil
The pure white gills, which are usually free from the stem
The stark white color of the entire mushroom
The smooth cap, which almost always lacks patches or warts ... Very unusual distribution. Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon
It covers roughly 2,200 acres
Approximate depth of three feet
Parasitizes, colonizes, kills and decays the root systems of various conifer hosts, resulting in what forest managers know as Armillaria root disease
Estimated to be between 1900 and 8650 years, based on the current size and estimates of how long it took to expand to its current size at rates ranging from 0.7 to 3.3 feet a year A genus of ascomycete fungi (sac fungi) that includes about 400 identified species
The genus has a worldwide distribution in humid temperate and tropical forests though most of the known species have been found in Asia (notably Nepal, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, and Thailand)
When a Cordyceps fungus attacks a host, the mycelium invades and eventually replaces the host tissue, while the elongated fruiting body (ascocarp) may be cylindrical, branched, or of complex shape
Some Cordyceps species are able to affect the behavior of their insect host: Cordyceps unilateralis causes ants to climb a plant and attach there before they die
Bonus. Why Can't We Be Friends? Not much information about this mushroom
Used as a forensic marker of shallow graves and is said to have detected human remains
Other Hebeloma species are known to fruit in the vicinity of mammal, reptile, and bird carcasses 10 Fascinating Fungi! A look at ten fungi with unique (and sometimes bizarre) attributes. “There hasn’t been anything measured with any scientific technique that has shown any plant or animal to be larger than this,” said Gregory Filip, associate professor of integrated forest protection at Oregon State University and an expert in Armillaria. 10. Mind Altering Mushrooms "Magic Mushrooms" (Psilocybe cubensis) Psilocybe cubensis is probably the most widely known of the psilocybin containing mushrooms
Psilocybin is present in varying concentrations in over 200 species of Basidiomycota mushrooms
There is evidence to suggest that psychoactive mushrooms have been used by humans in religious ceremonies for thousands of years
Archaeological artifacts from Mexico, as well as the so-called Mayan "mushroom stones" of Guatemala have similarly been interpreted by some scholars as evidence for ritual and ceremonial usage of psychoactive mushrooms in the Mayan and Aztec cultures of Mesoamerica
In the 1962 Marsh Chapel Experiment, which was run by Pahnke at the Harvard Divinity School under the supervision of Timothy Leary, nearly all of the graduate degree divinity student volunteers who received psilocybin reported profound religious experiences.
In 2008, the Johns Hopkins research team published guidelines for responsibly conducting medical research trials with psilocybin and other hallucinogens in humans "We are seeking volunteers with a diagnosis of cancer to participate in a
scientific study of states of consciousness brought about by psilocybin,
and their impact on psychological distress and spirituality.

The study is conducted in a comfortable and supportive setting, Volunteers
enrolled in the study will receive careful preparation and two sessions in
which they will receive psilocybin. Structured and professional guidance
will be provided during the session and afterwards to facilitate
integration of the experiences.

After each session, questionnaires and interviews will be used to assess
the effects of the psilocybin on consciousness, mood, and behavior." Johns Hopkins Medicine - Psilocybin Cancer Project A look at an interesting ant/fungi symbiosis. Name derives from the sedge stem culm on which it grows
Distribution is given as BC, WA and OR
Caps of this species range from 1 to 3 millimeters in diameter “among the tiniest of all gilled mushrooms” (Mushrooms Demystified, page 227) Thank you. Presented By: George Lantz - Missouri Mycological Society
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