Meet The World’s Largest Known Living Organism: “Humongous Fungus”

By Luke Miller,

When you think of the largest living thing of the planet, the blue whale is what would come to the mind of most. However, this gigantic network of mushrooms makes the blue whale look like a goldfish, giving it the perfect nickname- “Humongous Fungus”.

The mushroom in question is an Armillaria ostoyae. This is a species of plant fungus from the Physalacriaceae family. The mushroom is common across the western U.S.

2,385 acres In Size

This humongous piece of fungus lives in Malheur National Forest in Oregon and covers a space of almost 2,385 acres, which is close to 4 square miles, making it the largest known living organism on the planet.

Despite the friendly sounding name, this mushroom is actually far more destructive than you may think. Amarillia ostoyae is parasitic and grows by feeding off of roots of trees. This causes slow decay and eventually kills them. These mushrooms are likely to be spotted near to the base of infected or dead trees.

Underground there is a massive network of fungal roots called mycelia. Once a year during the mushroom season this network will produce mushrooms above ground. This season last around 3 months. So while this is the biggest known living organism on the planet, for 9 months of the year it is not visible above ground.  

Despite the destruction it can potentially cause, the fruit of this mycelium network is actually edible. Not only is it edible, but apparently it is quite tasty gaining the name “honey mushroom” for its sweet taste.

Image credit: 123bogdan / 123RF Stock Photo

I am Luke Miller the author of this article, and creator of Potential For Change. I like to blend psychology and spirituality to help you create more happiness in your life.Grab a copy of my free 33 Page Illustrated eBook- Psychology Meets Spirituality- Secrets To A Supercharged Life You Control Here 

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