Scientists have discovered the largest fruiting body of any fungus documented so far, on the underside of a tree in China’s Hainan Province.
The new giant fungus is believed to be at least 20 years old with a fruiting body equivalent to the mushrooms produced by other fungi species, the BBC reported.
The body which is up to 10m long, 80cm wide and weighs half a ton, broke the record held by a fungus growing in Kew Gardens in the UK.
Professor Yu-Cheng Dai of the Herbarium of biology at the Chinese Academy of Sciences in Shenyang and his assistant Dr Cui found the fungus while studying wood-decaying fungi.
“We were not specifically looking for this fungus; we did not know the fungus can grow so huge,” said Professor Yu.
“We were surprised when we found it, and we did not recognize it in the forest because it is too large.”
According to the report published in the journal Fungal Biology, the fungus is called F. ellipsoidea which mycologists call a perennial polypore.
Perennials can live for a number of years, which might be the reason why the fungus has grown to become that large.
Studies showed that the fruiting body weighs 400-500kg and holds some 450 million spores.
“A small piece of the fruiting body is almost like my size,” said Prof. Dai.
The previous record holder was a polypore with a pileate fruiting body, which measured approximately 150cm in diameter with a circumference of 425cm.
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