Top 5 Most Amazing Mushrooms

Monday, January 9, 2012

5. The Brain mushroom (Gyromitra esculenta)

Gyromitra esculenta, one of several species of fungi known as false morels, is an ascomycete fungus from the genus Gyromitra, widely distributed across Europe and North America. It normally sprouts in sandy soils under coniferous trees in spring and early summer. The fruiting body, or mushroom, is an irregular brain-shaped cap dark brown in colour which can reach 10 cm high and 15 cm wide, perched on a stout white stipe up to 6 cm (2.4 in) high. Although potentially fatal if eaten raw, Gyromitra esculenta is a popular delicacy in Scandinavia, Eastern Europe, and the upper Great Lakes region of North America. Although popular in some districts of the eastern Pyrenees, it is prohibited from sale to the public in Spain. It may be sold fresh in Finland, but it must be accompanied by warnings and instructions on correct preparation. It is eaten in omelettes, soups, or sautéed in Finnish cuisine. Although it is still commonly parboiled before
preparation, recent evidence suggests that even this procedure may not make the fungus entirely safe, thus raising concerns of risk even when prepared properly.
4. The Bleeding Tooth fungus (Hydnellum pecki)

Allow me to introduce to you one of the more unusual members of Kingdom Fungi, the Bleeding Tooth Fungus, or Hydnellum peckii which goes by various names often referring to juice or blood. This fungus can be found in North America where it is more common in the Pacific Northwest and resides mostly in coniferous forests. The Bleeding Tooth also makes appearances in Europe and has recently been discovered in both Iran and Korea. Upon a first glimpse of the bleeding tooth fungus, one may dismiss the ruby-red liquid as the blood of some poor forest creature splattered across the white mushroom cap. When inspected more closely, it becomes obvious that the fungus is oozing liquid through its own small pores.
3. The Giant puffball (Calvatia Gigantea)

The giant puffball, Calvatia gigantea, is easily recognized by its size and shape. Typical specimens are about the size of a soccer ball, and more or less round. However, it can be much larger (a 5-foot, 50-pound specimen is on record!), and its shape can be more “blob-ish” than round, especially when it attains enormous sizes. But it is never shaped like an inverted pear, since it lacks the sterile base portion common to many other puffballs.
2. The Devil’s Cigar (Chorioactis) – world’s rarest fungi

A star-shaped mushroom, called the Devil’s Cigar (Chorioactis geaster) is one of the world’s rarest fungi. It’s also known as the Texas star. These fungi had been detected only in central Texas, two remote locations in Japan, and most recently in the mountains of Nara. The Devil’s Cigar is a dark brown cigar-shaped capsule that transforms into a tan-coloured star when it splits open to release its spores. It is also one of only a few known fungi that produce a distinct whistle sound when releasing its spores.
1. Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor)

Trametes versicolor, often called the “turkey tail,” has the dubious distinction of being the only member of the forest fungal fowl community not named for the full bird, but a feathery fraction. However, the chicken of the woods and the hen of the woods look nothing at all like chickens or hens, while the turkey tail does look (vaguely) like a turkey’s tail. Who started this clucking menagerie of mushroom monikers, anyway?
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