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   xoxoxoBruce  Monday Jul 17 12:27 AM

July 17th, 2017: Fungus Amongus

In the fall when the rains fall on Malheur National Forest in eastern Oregon, what are commonly called
Honey Mushrooms pop up around the base of trees. Oh look Mommy, yummy mushrooms.
Don’t fall for it, the mushrooms are like the trout fisherman’s fly, designed to lure you closer.
The fungus, ensconced in its underground lair, feels your tread then reaches up with its black tendrils to
ensnare you, dragging screaming down into…
Oh wait… that’s classified... no, uh, I mean... er, a different story. Sorry.

The fungus, Armillaria solidipes, remains mostly underground, hidden from sight, but every autumn just after the rains it sends up clusters of small yellow-brown mushrooms from the bases of trees it has infected. These mushrooms, commonly called “honey mushrooms”, are the most visible part of the fungus seen by the casual observer. The bulk of the fungus lies underneath the forest floor—a vast network of black filament-like structures called rhizomorphs, that creep through the soil, feeling out new root systems to colonize.

The underground growth can stretch up to several square kilometers. The specimen in Malheur National Forest covers 2,200 acres (8.9 square kilometer), and has been named the “Humongous Fungus”.
Another specimen, also named the “Humongous Fungus”, resides in a forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. That one is spread over 37 acres.

You probably know the wood in a tree is basically dead, structural, used to hold the leaves up into the
sunlight to produce food for the roots. The live part of the tree is the cambium layer, just under the bark,
which connects the leaves to the roots. The black rhizomorphs invade the cambium layer stealing nutrients
and eventually killing the tree.


classicman  Monday Jul 17 04:46 PM

I've eaten more than a few (hundred) of both the Regular Honey mushrooms and the ringless varietal.
I MAY have even eaten some of the Deadly Gallerina which is a lookalike. We'll not discuss the gastric distress which that MAY have caused.

classicman  Monday Jul 17 04:49 PM

Also note - The largest living thing on Earth is an Armillaria

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