Few things on Earth are more strange or alien than fungi and mushrooms. Fungi occupy a weird spot among lifeforms, somewhere between plant and animal. In fact, we actually share more DNA with mushrooms than we do with plants.
Mushrooms are actually the reproductive fruiting bodies of particular fungi. And some fungi have evolved some seriously strange ways to reproduce and spread their genes.
In this Halloween special, we share nine strange, and perhaps even nightmarish mushrooms and fungi!
The anemone stinkhorn (asero rubra) is a common and widespread native to Australia. It is easily identifiable by its sea anemone shape and foul smell of rotting flesh when fully mature. The foul smell attracts flies who spread its spores.
The brain mushroom (gyromitra esculenta) is a false morel mushroom which should not be eaten, as they have been known to be poisonous. They are found throughout Europe and North America and can often times resemble the human brain!
Some mushrooms have the ability to create their own light! There are about 75 different known species of bioluminescent fungi. The light emitted from these glowing mushrooms is green and is emitted continuously through the living cells.
Also known as bamboo mushroom, the veiled lady mushroom (phallus indusiatus) is a member of the stinkhorn family of mushrooms. They are commonly cultivated in Asia and featured in many dishes. As with almost any edible mushroom, veiled ladies contain medicinal properties and have been used in Chinese medicine dating back to the 7th century AD.
This is a mycorrhizal species of fungi that forms a beneficial relationship with coniferous trees. Its other common name is the 'bleeding tooth fungus'. When young, the fruiting bodies ooze or “bleed” a bright red sap that actually contains an anticoagulant (blood thinner) similar to heparin, a medication used to treat some heart attacks.
A common inky cap mushroom, which also happens to be a good edible mushroom, is the shaggy mane mushroom. When the fruiting bodies of these mushrooms are young, the cap looks…well, shaggy. But as the mushroom matures, the cap begins to open and the mushroom actually starts to digest itself! As the gills breakdown, the spores mix with the juices being released by the auto-digestion process and produce what looks like black ink dripping from what remains of the cap of the mushroom.
Cordyceps is a genus of parasitic fungi that attacks insects. When a particular insect is infected with the cordyceps spore, the fungi hijacks the mind of the insect and forces the now “zombie” insect into prime position for the cordyceps to fruit and spread its spores. While this sounds absolutely horrifying, some species of cordyceps have shown to have powerful medicinal qualities in humans!
The wood ear mushroom literally looks like a human ear growing from the side of a tree. “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?”
Perhaps the trees hear each other!
This is absolutely the stuff of nightmares! These things look like the giant subterranean worm that eats anything that moves from the “Tremors” movies! They’re related to the other stinkhorn family of mushrooms and produce a putrid smelling goo that attracts flies to spread its spores.
Brain Mushroom (False Morel)
Ink Cap Mushroom
Clathrus Archeri (Devil’s Fingers)
LEGAL DISCLAIMER: This post is not intended to replace the advice of a medical professional. The above information should not be used to diagnose, treat, or prevent any disease or medical condition. Please consult your doctor before making any changes to your diet, sleep methods, daily activity, or fitness routine. Advanced MycoTech assumes no responsibility for any personal injury or damage sustained by any recommendations, opinions, or advice given in this article.
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