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Humongous Fungus: Oregon's Most Fun-gi! (You're Welcome)

Did you know that the largest living organism is right here in the Pacific Northwest? In the misty Blue Mountains of eastern Oregon a silent but deadly killer is at work in the dark, loamy soil, slowly eating everything it can get its mycelia on.

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This massive mushroom spreads itself over four square miles and is estimated to weigh as much as 35,000 pounds. Science hippies mapped out its genome and discovered that it is genetically identical throughout the area. It's a parasitic fungus that kills evergreen trees slowly over 20-50 years. And this serial killer is ancient; they believe it is anywhere from 2,400 to 8,700 years old!

For a few weeks every year it sprouts a clump of innocent fruiting bodies (the mushroom part) on rotting wood. These are the Honey Mushroom, which while edible, have to be thoroughly cooked and become extremely slimy when cooked, so maybe skip them? After they do their job of reproducing, the fruiting bodies fade, while the real work goes on under the substrate.

Want to know more about this PNW marvel? Then you need to listen to the episode! This one is a total blast and is filled with only the finest quality mushroom puns and dad jokes.

Have a nice hike!

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