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July 05, 2004

A web of tentacles

A fungus living three feet underground at the Malheur National Forest in Oregon may be the world's largest living organism.

Officially known as Armillaria ostoyae, or the honey mushroom, the fungus is 3.5 miles across and takes up 1,665 football fields. The small mushrooms visible above ground are only the tip of the iceberg. Experts estimate that the giant mushroom is at least 2,400 years old, but could be 7,200 years old.

Posted by Ghost of a flea at July 5, 2004 08:20 AM

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There was an X-Files episode about this thing, wasn't there? I'm sure of it.

Posted by: Chris Taylor at July 5, 2004 09:41 AM

Yes, it sucks Scully and Mulder down into itself, and somewhow causes them to have hours of lucid hallucinations, including one where they escape from the fungus. I get the feeling they never spent much time researching actual science on that show.

Posted by: Jerry at July 5, 2004 11:19 AM

Too bad we can't ask it questions!

Posted by: Eric Scheie at July 9, 2004 03:56 PM