Strange but True: The World’s Largest Organism is a Giant Mushroom

Giant Mushroom (Armillaria solidipes (formerly Armillaria ostoyae)This Giant Mushroom is the Armillaria solidipes, formerly Armillaria ostoyae

A mushroom of this type in the Malheur National Forest in the Strawberry Mountains of eastern Oregon, U.S. was found to be the largest fungal colony in the world, spanning 8.9 square kilometres (2,200 acres) of area.
This organism is estimated to be 2,400 years old.

The fungus was written about in the April 2003 issue of the Canadian Journal of Forest Research. While an accurate estimate has not been made, the total mass of the colony may be as much as 605 tons. If this colony is considered a single organism, then it is the largest known organism in the world by area, and rivals the aspen grove “Pando” as the known organism with the highest living biomass. In 1992, a relative of the Strawberry Mountains clone was discovered in southwest Washington state. It covers about 6 square kilometres (1,500 acres).

Another “humongous fungus” is a specimen of Armillaria gallica found at a site near Crystal Falls, Michigan, which covered 0.15 square kilometres (37 acres).

Armillaria solidipes is mostly common in the cooler regions of the northern hemisphere. In North America, this fungus can be found on host coniferous trees located in the northwestern forests of the continent in British Columbia and the Pacific Northwest. While Armillaria solidipes is distributed throughout the different biogeoclimatic zones of British Columbia, the root disease causes the greatest amount of problem in the interior parts of the region in the Interior Cedar Hemlock (ICH) biogeoclimatic zone. It is both present in the interior where it is more common as well as along the coastal lines.

More info:
Armillaria solidipes (formerly Armillaria ostoyae)
Image by D. Redecker

Canadian Journal of Forest Research
Canadian Journal of Forest Research: Volume 33, Number 4 (April 2003)
Coarse-scale population structure of pathogenic Armillaria species in a mixed-conifer forest in the Blue Mountains of northeast Oregon (April 2003)

06 August 2000 – Oregon’s monster mushroom is world’s biggest living thing
27 March 2003 – Giant Fungus Challenges Traditional Ideas Of Individuality
10 April 2003 – Humungous fungus: world’s largest organism?
October 4, 2007 – Strange but True: The Largest Organism on Earth Is a Fungus
More giant mushrooms ..

One thought on “Strange but True: The World’s Largest Organism is a Giant Mushroom

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