There are about 144,000 different species of fungi. They appear all over the planet in various forms, like yeasts, molds, mildews, and perhaps most interesting, mushrooms!
Some fungi grow in the form of mushrooms, sometimes tall, sometimes short, and often in radically different shapes and colors. The goal of the mushroom is to spread its spores from the fruiting body at the top of the fungus. To do this, each mushroom has its own way of growing, and often, they resemble something completely out of this world. Here are 5 of the weirdest and most interesting mushrooms in the world.
Amanita muscaria, sometimes called Fly Agaric or Fly Amanita, is among the world’s most famous, most identifiable mushrooms. It appears frequently in popular culture in games like Super Mario Bros., folk stories, films, even in the story of Alice in Wonderland! While it is a well known mushroom, tread with caution.
Amanita muscaria is a poisonous mushroom that can sometime induce hallucinations when consumed. The mushrooms can appear in a wide variety of colors, with caps coming in red, pink, yellow, and even brown colors. It gets the nickname “Fly Agaric” because when crushed into milk, it attracts and kills flies.
Mutinus caninus is an exceptionally odd fungus. It doesn’t grow in the traditional mushroom shape, but is long and narrow with a yellow body and a black tip. It can be found growing in leaf litter and wood debris in the autumn around Europe and in the eastern parts of North America. It is not considered edible.
This incredible little mushroom, discovered in 2002, is found only two places in the world and, remarkably, more than 7,000 miles apart. Entoloma hochstetteri can be found in New Zealand and India and is well known for its out-of-this-world blue color. The gills of the mushroom, found beneath the cap, tend to turn red from the spores. This mushroom is not edible, but it is not known to be poisonous.
Perhaps one of the most interesting mushrooms in the world is the Mycena chlorophos, otherwise known as bioluminscent mushrooms. These glowing, green mushrooms emerge during the rainy season on Mesameyama island in Japan and Ribeira Valley Tourist State Park in Brazil. These mushrooms are truly something to behold if you can find them growing in the wild.
If you were walking through the forest and stumbled upon Hydnellum pecki, you may not immediately recognize it as a mushroom, a fungus, or really anything found on planet Earth. This odd little fungus has been given the nickname “Bleeding Tooth Fungus” due to the blood red spots that grow on it. This fungus can be found growing in the Pacific Northwest mostly in coniferous forests. It has also been spotted in Korea, Iran, and Europe.