It is being claimed in the Huffington Post that on 29th July in Puxiong, China that the worlds largest wild mushroom was found. The specimen weighed in at 33 pounds and was nearly 40 inches round. Amusingly the person who found it is trying to establish if it is a new world record. As anyone who knows anything about wild mushrooms (fungi) will know that this "wild mushroom" is actually a tiddler!

Wild mushrooms are made up from two parts, the mycelium (which is the main part) and the fruiting body (which is the "mushroom" as we know it). We eat the fruiting body and it is that part that most people consider to be the mushroom when in fact, it is the very long underground thread (mycelium) that is really the main part. The fruiting body only accounts for a small percentage of the overall animal.

There are however some much larger wild mushrooms. Back in 2000 a truly huge one was found, when measured it was estimated that the mycelium extended 3.5 miles and covered nearly 1700 football grounds. The fruiting bodies seen sprouting in fields will often have mycelium extending many miles into neighboring woods, this is where they gain most of their food as they have a "symbiotic" relationship with dead and dying trees.

Some fungi will kill their host tree, such as the Polypore (Chicken of the Woods), which is a bracket fungus where as some actually benefit trees by providing them nutrients such as the Chanterelle and Cep. There are many varieties of wild mushroom and you should never ever eat any unless properly identified by an expert. Many types of fungi can be identified by their smell, colour and shape but the difference between poisonous and edible can be extremely small and even experts can fail to get it right.

There have been several cases in the last few years of people being killed by eating what look like regular field mushrooms only to find they have eaten the most deadly type. The weather over the last three years in the UK has meant there have been a lot more rare and deadly fungi about than ever before and with the main foraging and hunting season about to start, make sure you do not be tempted to eat any.

If you do go out hunting and foraging, try not to collect them, instead take a few books and identify them in position and leave them untouched as they serve a very important service for our countryside. Hi, I co-own, a site dedicated to wild mushrooms and I write content regarding wild mushrooms and wild food hunting. I live in the UK and specialise in wild mushroom research and advice. I have many members of the site who post their questions and recent foraging finds for help with identification. Article Source: Article Source: