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Oldest fungus?

truffler1635 at my-deja.com truffler1635 at my-deja.com
Thu Sep 21 01:35:59 EST 2000

In article <39c97d7f.2874664 at news.uniserve.com>,
  CaptainMaxMushroom at webcity.ca wrote:
> Actually, I believe the largest living organism is the aspen?  in
> norhtern Canada. They all grow off the same mother root over hundreds
> of square miles.
The largest currently _confirmed_ single organism is an Armillariella
ostoyae found near Prairie City, OR, encompassing some 113 acres.

While there has been _supposition_ that larger groves of aspen exist (as
well as several other trees species which frequently spread by root
scions) the only confirmed by DNA research species is the fungus.

And even that _may be_ inaccurate. I have heard of a fairy-ring of
Armillaria oystoyae near Crater Lake which is _much_ larger. But DNA
confirmation has not yet been done.

The problem with assessing either aspen, cottonwood or fungus is that all
can spread by many mechanisms (spore/seed, root/mycelium, cutting/
mycelial transference). All these organisms are also widespread and
common. The only _known_ way to confirm they are part of the same
organism, however, is through DNA testing.

The future may prove that giant fairy rings of Marasmius oreades in the
Mid-west over 100-miles across are both the largest organisms and the
oldest organisms. However, given the ubiquitousness of this species,
identification of precise portions of the fairy-rings involves, vs
smaller fairy-rings of the same fungus growing inside of them, is very

Daniel B. Wheeler

> On 19 Sep 2000 18:34:01 +0100, rushwayne at aol.com (RushWayne) wrote:
> >We have all read about the fungi that are single
> >organisms and have spread over vast tracts of
> >land, vying for the title of largest living
> >organism.  I'm wondering if anyone has an estimate
> >of how old these giant organisms must be to have
> >spread over so much territory.  Perhaps they are
> >among the oldest living organisms, in addition to
> >the largest. This information in turn might have
> >some bearing on the issue of fungal senescence.
> >--Rush
> >http://www.mycomasters.com/
> >"Growing Mushrooms with Hydrogen Peroxide"
> >
> >
> Visit Captain Max's Den and read about Canada's mushroom parks!
> http://members.xoom.com/maxsden/

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