Fungi are a large group of organisms that range greatly from tiny living things such as yeasts and molds to much larger and more familiar mushrooms such as the Champignon mushrooms and truffles. There are many different types of fungi that can be found almost all over the world. Scientists estimate there actually might be up to 5 million different fungus species, and as you will see in today’s post, some of them are very interesting.
Lion’s Mane Mushroom
Easily recognizable by its white long spikes, (Hericium erinaceus), this strange mushroom goes by many names, including Lion’s Mane Mushroom, Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Hedgehog Mushroom, Satyr’s Beard, Bearded Hedgehog Mushroom, pom pom mushroom, or Bearded Tooth Fungus. Native to North America, it can be found growing on hardwood trees. Despite its strange looks, it is indeed edible. Its taste is compared to seafood.
Found in open, grassy fields and meadows across North America and Europe, the Giant Puffball is one of the largest fungus species in the world. Occasionally reaching diameters of up to 150 cm (59 in) and weights of 20 kg (44 lb), this edible mushroom mostly occurs in late summer and early fall. There are quite a few varieties of puffball mushrooms, all of which belong in the division Basidiomycota, and all of which have their own unique characteristics. But what they all share in common is that they do not grow an open cap with spore-bearing gills, but instead the spores are grown internally and the mushroom develops an aperture or splits open to release the spore. Besides their general appearance, they are called puffballs because of the clouds of spores that “puff” out when they burst open or are hit with an impact like falling raindrops.