The answer is – fungus – a giant mushroom that covers over 2,200 acres in the Malheur National Forest in Eastern Oregon. (photo below of a part of the mushroom in Oregon from zenzoneforum.com)
A giant mushroom? Over 2,200 acres big? That’s a lot of mushroom. Officially named Armillaria ostoyae, this giant fungus was once only a tiny spore that was microscopic in size. Now it has grown bigger than anyone ever imagined. The organism is about 3.5 miles across and goes about 3 feet into the ground. It is a size of about 1,665 football fields! Incredible!
One problem with this mushroom is that it kills trees. So forestry scientists are trying to find a way to control it. And dead trees is how it was found. They took satellite photos of the area and marked off the dead trees and then took specimens. They found that most of the specimens were all from the same organism. Meaning they didn’t have a clue it was all one big mushroom. How cool is that?
The last largest organism was of the same species, Armillaria ostoyae, which was found in 1992 in Washington State. It covered an area of over 1,500 acres near Mt. Adams.
Weird or what? Nothing seems to amaze me anymore about our planet. We keep finding really strange things that we have no clue about. When will we learn?