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Fungal Empire

My brother the trout, Salvelinas Fontinalis, sent me an interesting article about a 2500 year old fungus. That’s right, 2500 years old. That is staggering. It’s an Armillaria, what mushroom lovers would call a honey mushroom, and the organism, located in Michigan, takes up 180 acres. That’s difficult to even imagine. To begin with, understand that when we see a mushroom, what we’re seeing is the fruit of a larger organism that lives underground.

You don’t want honey mushrooms growing in your backyard or on your woodlot. That’s because they’re tree eaters. If you have Armillaria attacking your tree, your local arborist would say you have shoestring root rot, or Armillaria root disease. The organism grows under the bark and more or less sucks the life out of your tree, then moves on to chow down on other trees for dessert.

The article focuses on the low amount of genetic mutation experienced by this 2500 year old organism. Excellent read for the nature lover.

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