AsianScientist (Aug. 2, 2011) – The massive fruiting body of a bracket fungus has been found on the underside of a tree in China. The fruiting body – similar to a mushroom in other types of fungi – is 10 m long, 80 cm wide, and weighs 400-500 kg.
Previously, the largest recorded fruiting body of any fungus was a specimen of Rigidoporus ulmarius found in the Kew Gardens, United Kingdom. That specimen was only 4.25 m long.
The Chinese fungus is thought to have been growing for at least 20 years. The specimen was discovered by a team of researchers from the Chinese Academy of Sciences and the Beijing Forestry University, who describe their findings in the journal Fungal Biology.
“We were not specifically looking for this fungus; we did not know the fungus can grow so huge. We were surprised when we found it, and we did not recognize it in the forest because it is too large,” lead author Prof. Yu-Cheng Dai told BBC News.
The bracket fungus, Fomitiporia ellipsoidea, is a type of fungi called a perennial polypore in the Hymenochaetaceae family.
Because it is a perennial, it can live for several years which helped it to achieve its record-breaking size. The 20 year old fungus was also found on the underside of a decaying tree, which gave it a tremendous amount of rotting wood to feed on. The researchers estimate that there are some 450 million spores in the fungi.
The abstract can be found at: Dai YC et al. (2011) Fomitiporia ellipsoidea has the largest fruiting body among the fungi.
Copyright: Asian Scientist Magazine.
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