Fact Friday – Mushrooms

Last Sunday Fysh went mushroom hunting with his granny and a friend of ours and he had a ton of fun, keeps asking when we can go again.

We decided to make the topic of the week mushrooms for school seeing as I had a Mushroom Dissection learning unit from Firefly Nature School in my homeschool folder.

He got to dissect a shroom, label it, write about what kind it was and he even learned how to tell if they are edible or poisonous, well to a point seeing as there are some out there that mimic edible but aren’t. AKA I won’t be collecting for them (don’t dare try make me eat them) to eat without Hannes or Heidi being with us.

All mushrooms are edible.
Some only once.

10 Amazing facts about mushrooms

There are over 30 species of mushroom that actually glow in the dark. The chemical reaction called bioluminescence produces a glowing light known as foxfire. People have been known to use these fungi to light their way through the woods.

There is an entire genus of mushrooms, found all over the world, that tastes like fried chicken. It’s even referred to as the “chicken of the woods.” It is most commonly found in eastern North America and is bright orange. It sort of look like a tasty piece of fried buffalo chicken. (you still can’t get me to eat it).

Before the invention of synthetic dyes, mushrooms were widely used for dyeing wool and other natural fibers. Mushroom dyes are organic compounds and produce strong, vivid colors.

More and more species of mushroom that glow in the dark are being discovered all the time. As it stands now, there are more than 75 species that are bioluminescent! 

In the Blue Mountains of Oregon is a colony of Armillaria solidipes that is believed to be the world’s largest known organism. The fungus is over 2,400 years old and covers an estimated 2,200 acres (8.9 km2). Above ground the honey mushrooms are short-lived but the underlying mycelium (branch like vegetation) lives on.

Fly Agaric mushrooms, which look like Super Mario Bros. mushrooms, contain a psychoactive chemical that can cause micropsia/macropsia, aka the illusion that objects around you are larger or smaller than they actually are.

Mushrooms spores repel over 200,000 species of insect. That’s a huge chunk of the “pest” problem with no harm to humans, or the environement via any manmade chemical pesticides.

Ancient Egyptians referred to mushrooms as the plant of immortality in hieroglyphics more than 4600 years ago! Mushrooms were so revered in Egyptian society that commoners were forbidden from touching them. Mushrooms were a food exclusively for royalty.

In 2006, the American company Ecovative developed a packaging material made of mycelium (the “root” part of mushrooms). This material, which is being used by such companies as IKEA and Dell, can simply been thrown in your backyard, where it will biodegrade within weeks.

The Death Cap Mushroom not only looks like safe, edible mushrooms, it also tastes perfectly nice, and it gives no symptoms of poisoning until after it has already ruined your liver and kidneys.

And a bonus fact for the ladies…

There’s a mushroom in Hawaii that, when smelled, causes instant orgasms in woman. Over half of the female test subjects experienced a simultaneous orgasm.  “There are significant sexual arousal characteristics present in the fetid odor of this unique mushroom. These results suggest that the hormone-like compounds present in the volatile portion of the spore mass may have some similarity to human neurotransmitters during sexual encounters.”

Until next time…