The giant honey mushroom found growing in Oregon in 1998 is still the largest known living organism, taking up a whopping 2,200 acres as it grows on tree roots in the densely populated Malheur National Forest. However, a new fungus found in China that measures 37 inches across the top and weighs over 30 pounds is garnering quite a bit of attention this week as a new contender for biggest mushroom.
Scientists are studying the new species and haven’t been able to identify it yet, though some are hopeful that it will prove to be edible; China’s mushroom industry is a multi-million dollar business as the fungi are highly prized for various meal ingredients and many are considered delicacies.
As for the giant honey mushroom, it has the unfortunate side effect of killing the trees it feeds off of, leaving dead space throughout the forest. They are, however, edible.
“But they don’t taste the best. I would put lots of butter and garlic on them,” Tina Dreisbach, a botanist and mycologist with the U.S. Forest Service’s Pacific Northwest Research Station in Corvallis, Oregon, said.