Fungi are a large group of organisms that range greatly from tiny living things such as yeasts and moulds to much larger and more familiar mushrooms such as the Champignon mushrooms and truffles. There are many different types of fungi that can be found almost all over the world. Scientists estimate there actually might be up to 5 million different fungus species, and as you will see in today’s post, some of them are very interesting. From the Brain Mushroom and the Bleeding Tooth Fungus to the iconic Fly Agaric, check out this list with different types of fungi. Here are 25 Most Bizarre Mushrooms You Need To See.
Blue Milk Mushroom
Also known as the Indigo Milk Cap or the Indigo Lactarius, the Blue Milk Mushroom is a fungus species that grows in forests throughout North and Central America and East Asia (during rainy season). Notable for its unusual blue coloration, this mushroom has a pleasant, earthy smell, and a sweet lightly pungent flavor.
Lion's Mane Mushroom
Easily recognizable by its white long spikes, the Lion’s Mane Mushroom is known by many other names such as Bearded Tooth Mushroom, Hedgehog Mushroom, or Satyr’s Beard. Native to North America, Europe, and Asia, it can be found growing on hardwood trees. Despite its strange looks, it is edible, and its taste is compared to seafood.
Contrary to its name, the Lobster Mushroom is not a true mushroom but rather a fungus that grows on certain species of mushrooms, turning them a reddish orange color that looks like cooked lobster. Eventually, this edible fungus even begins to transform the shape of the host mushroom, twisting it into odd contortions.
Arguably the most recognizable mushroom on the planet and widely known as the hallucinatory mushroom responsible for Alice’s trip into Wonderland, the Fly Agaric is a brain-altering fungus native to areas throughout certain regions of the Northern Hemisphere. It is classified as poisonous, but it actually can be eaten after parboiling.
Widely distributed in North America and Europe, the Brain Mushroom can be found under coniferous trees (trees that produce cones). This species of fungus was found to be poisonous, but it is still eaten is some countries. The mushroom is characterized by its red-brown cap that resembles the human brain.
Bleeding Tooth Fungus
Native to North America and Europe (but recently also discovered in Iran and Korea), the Bleeding Tooth Fungus is an inedible (not toxic though) fungus whose thick red fluid oozes through its tiny pores, creating the appearance of blood. The colorful pigments of this mushroom are also used to dye fabrics.
Found in open, grassy fields and meadows across North America and Europe, the Giant Puffball is one of the largest fungus species in the world. Occasionally reaching diameters of up to 150 cm (59 in) and weights of 20 kg (44 lb), this edible mushroom mostly occurs in late summer and early fall.
Golden Jelly Fungus
Commonly also known as the Yellow Brain or the Witches’ Butter, the Golden Jelly Fungus is mainly seen in winter, when it appears on fallen branches of deciduous trees. In dry weather, this fungus becomes a hard orange bracket and it much more difficult to spot. The gel-like body of the fungus can grow up to 7.5 cm (3 in) in diameter.
Found only in two locations (Texas and Japan), the Texas Star is an extremely rare species of fungus. It has the appearance of a dark brown cigar-shaped capsule that transforms into a tan-colored star when it splits open to release its spores. It is also one of only a few known fungi that produce a distinct whistle sound when releasing its spores.
The Turkey Tail is one of the most common mushrooms in North American and European woods, found anywhere where there are dead hardwood logs and stumps to decompose. Its caps have many different colors but tend to stay in the buff, brown, cinnamon, and reddish brown range. The mushroom is not edible, but it is under research for its medical properties.
Sky Blue Mushroom
Native only to New Zealand and India, the Sky Blue Mushroom is a small (up to 4 cm or 1.4 in in diameter) mushroom notable for its striking blue color. It is common in lowland conifer broad-leaf forests.
Mycena Chlorophos was first described in 1860; the fungus is found in subtropical Asia, Australia, and Brazil. The mushrooms have pale brownish-grey sticky caps up to 3 cm (1.2 in) in diameter that are bioluminescent – they emit a pale green light.
The Violet Coral is a widely distributed species of fungus that produces striking tubular, purple to pinkish-violet fruit bodies that grow up to 10 cm (3.9 in) tall and 7 cm (2.8 in) wide. This remarkable species can be commonly found in woodland litter and grasslands in many parts of the world including the Americas, Australia, Europe, and Asia.
Also known as the Yellow Morel or the True Morel, the Common Morel is an edible and highly sought after species of fungus. They grow singly or in groups, and they can be most commonly found in deciduous woods and in disturbed or recently burned areas in Europe and North America. They usually fruit in April and early May.
Wrinkled Peach Mushroom
First described in 1785, the Wrinkled Peach Mushroom is a rare, inedible mushroom famous for its unusual coloration and appearance. It is native to several European countries, and it has also been reported from parts of Asia and North America. The Wrinkled Peach Mushroom is usually found under rotting elm wood.
Widespread in the Northern Hemisphere, the Pinwheel Mushroom (also known as the Little Wheel) is a tiny fungus commonly found in hardwood forests from spring to fall, growing from sticks and other woody debris. These mushrooms usually grow in clusters, and they are known for their ability to revive after rehydrating.
Split Gill Mushroom
Scientifically known as Schizophyllum Commune, the Split Gill Mushroom is one of the most widespread fungus species in existence, being found on every continent except Antarctica, where there is no wood to grow on. The mushroom is known to produce a white rot, and it can also give humans fungal infections.
The Amethyst Deceiver is a beautiful small fungus with distinctive purple coloration of both cap and stem. The best time to see this interesting edible mushroom is from late summer to early winter.
The Lilac Oysterling is a tough, long-lived wood-rotter, recognized by its white spore print, its fairly smooth cap, and its purplish colors (though the colors eventually fade to brownish or cinnamon brown). The mushroom commonly occurs throughout the Northern Hemisphere where it can be found on decaying hardwood sticks and logs.
Red Cage Fungus
Also known as the Latticed Stinkhorn or the Basket Stinkhorn, the Red Cage Fungus is a fascinating mushroom shaped somewhat like a round or oval hollow sphere with interlaced or latticed branches. The fungus is saprobic (meaning it feeds on decaying woody plant material) and is usually found alone or in groups in leaf litter on garden soil, grassy places, or garden mulches.
Reaching up to 40 cm (16 in) in both height and cap diameter, the Parasol Mushroom is one of the largest agaric mushrooms. A very popular and sought after mushroom, it has exceptionally fine flavor, and there are many different dishes that can be prepared from it. However, pickers must be cautious as this mushroom can be sometimes mistaken for the poisonous amanitas.
Orange Pore Fungus
Scientifically known as Favolaschia Calocera, the Orange Pore Fungus is a species of fungus in the Mycenaceae family. The species was first observed in Madagascar, but it has recently spread around the world and is now known to be found in parts of Australia, Asia, Hawaii and Africa. Mycologists (biologists who study fungi) fear that it may be displacing native fungi species.
The Rounded Earthstar is a small but beautiful mushroom that features a round spore case sitting atop a star with 4-9 arms. Distributed worldwide, this interesting species grows alone or gregariously under hardwoods or conifers, particularly around stumps. It occurs from spring through fall (and even during winter in warmer climates).
Golden Scruffy Collybia
Widely distributed in tropical regions of the world, the Golden Scruffy Collybia is a mushroom characterized by the bright orange to yellow cap that is covered with tufts resembling small spikes. First described in 1847, the mushroom grows on decaying wood of deciduous and coniferous trees.
Orange Peel Fungus
Scientifically known as Aleuria Aurantia, the Orange Peel Fungus is easily recognizable by its orange, cup-shaped body that resemble orange peels strewn on the ground (hence the name). This mushroom usually grows in clusters on the ground, often in clayey soil or disturbed grounds (road banks, landscaping areas etc.).
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Photos: 25 -Dan Molter, Lactarius indigo 48568, CC BY-SA 3.0, 24 –Lebrac, Igelstachelbart Nov 06, CC BY-SA 3.0, 23 – Jason Hollinger, Lobster Mushroom, CC BY 2.0, 22 -Richard Croft, Fly Agaric fungus – geograph.org.uk – 263319, CC BY-SA 2.0, 21 – Severine Meißner, Frühjahrslorchel, CC BY-SA 3.0, 20 –Bernypisa, Hydnellum peckii2, CC BY-SA 3.0, 19 – Anne Burgess, Giant Puffball (Calvatia (Langermannia) gigantea ) – geograph.org.uk – 228993, CC BY-SA 2.0, 18 – Tremella_mesenterica_JPL2.jpg: Jplm derivative work: Ak ccm (talk), Tremella mesenterica JPL2 cropped, CC BY-SA 3.0, 17 – Tim Jones, Devil’s cigar Chorioactis geaster, CC BY 3.0, 16 – © Copyright ceridwen and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, 15 – Tom via flickr, CC BY 2.0, 14 – self, Mycena chlorophos, CC BY-SA 3.0, 13 – This image was created by user Dan Molter (shroomydan) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images. You can contact this user here., Clavaria zollingeri 90973, CC BY-SA 3.0, 12 – This image was created by user Mary Smiley (ladyflyfsh) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images. You can contact this user here., Morchella esculenta 41997, CC BY-SA 3.0, 11 – Dan Molter, Rhodotus palmatus1, CC BY-SA 3.0, 10 – This image was created by user Dan Molter (shroomydan) at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images. You can contact this user here., Marasmius rotula 89484, CC BY-SA 3.0, 9 – commons.wikimedia.org (public domain), 8 – Tatiana Bulyonkova from Novosibirsk, Russia, Laccaria amethystina (8122143392), CC BY-SA 2.0, 7 – This image was created by user Randy L. at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images. You can contact this user here., 2012-12-12 Panus conchatus (Bull.) Fr 292500, CC BY-SA 3.0, 6 – (Alan Rockefeller), Clathrus ruber 61317, CC BY-SA 3.0, 5 – © Copyright Andrew Howey and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence, 4 – www.flickr.com (public domain), 3 – JJ Harrison ([email protected]), Geastrum saccatum, CC BY-SA 3.0, 2 – JJ Harrison ([email protected]), Wielangta Unidentified Fungus 5208, CC BY-SA 3.0, 1 – Aiwok, Aleuria aurantia 1, CC BY-SA 3.0