Sunday, December 13, 2009

Giant Mushrooms and Mad Scientists

You are hiking in the woods. Giant mushrooms attack. They are coming fast, red mushrooms with white dots. Thank goodness they seem compelled to travel in a straight line, single file like an old video game. As the menacing mushrooms float in for the attack, you crouch, muscles pulsing with anticipation. You leap and your legs fly whipping about in a round house super whammy kick fest. White puffy flesh flies; chunks rain down. You triumph.

It’s OK to harbor secret fantasies of invincibility, but they are fantasies. If you think you can really kick fungal ass so easily, you have some things to learn.What if you were not attacked by light and fluffy mushrooms but by one of the gelatinous, gooey indeterminant species? You can damage the indeterminant fungi but they’ll continue to grow. They can even envelope the living. Kick and scream all you like, but these rare mushrooms could grow right over you.

That is, if you’re small enough or the mushroom is big enough. The book, Mycelium Running, by Paul Stamets, where I acquired a knowledge of these beastly fungi, didn't specify the size. They’re kind of small in the picture though. But mushroom size can be misleading, what you see is only the sex organ. The organism, the mycelium, is in the ground. Some of these mycelial mats, like that of the Honey Mushroom, can cover acres and acres, but it’s just one predatory and parasitic organism lurking in the soil and popping up with pretty little honey colored mushrooms all about.

If the Honey Mushroom was an indeterminat species, you'd never make it out alive. That is why we must keep the mad scientists in the dark. Who knows what they might engineer? Stamets himself proposes a fungal revolution to save the world using fungi to combat problems as far flung as environmental pollution to overly small brussels sprouts. But not all people have the world’s best interest in mind. In the hands of the wrong people this knowledge could lead to a post apocalyptic age where Super Mario Bros 3 meets The Blob and Attack of the Killer Tomatoes.

[This is installment 2 of my Mushroom Quest Series. I have yet to figure out what that orange stuff on the log was, but I have learned lots of quasi related stuff. All inserted facts above were from Mycelium Running by Paul Stamets published in 2005 by Ten Speed Press. I specifically refer to information found on pages 2, 6, 12, 21, 82, 191.]


  1. Annie you make me smile. I was able to really explore your blog and digest it today. It is such a pleasure to have access to your quirky, fun, inventive, informative, stimulating and sassy blog. I am waiting for today's post....Should I bring you some coffee or something?

  2. Thank you Erica! I take my deadlines very seriously and always to the last minute. I will probably post it just before the stroke of midnight. JC suggests I up my deadline, but not until I've given up my Saturday shift at work! Coffee or no, you should stop by if you have a chance!