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18 Interesting Facts About Mushrooms

Have you ever gone for a walk in the woods and come across a group of mushrooms growing in the ground? Even if your answer was no, there’s a good chance that you’ve seen mushrooms in the grocery store or eaten them at a restaurant! Mushrooms are some of nature’s most fascinating types of fungus. You can eat them, use them in healing from illnesses, dye wool and fabrics, and do so much more with mushrooms. 

In this guide to all things mushroom-related, we will walk you through a list of 20 facts about mushrooms. Let’s take a closer look at them! 

18 Interesting Mushroom Facts

 Another word for mushroom is toadstool! 

Even though toadstools sound like mythical plants from a fairytale, they are simply another word for mushrooms. The term ‘toadstool’ originated in the 14th century, and many believe that it references a type of poisonous and inedible mushroom. 

Toadstool

Humans and mushrooms share many common genetic characteristics. 

Over the past few decades, scientists have discovered that human beings and mushrooms have very similar DNA. While science once considered mushrooms to belong to the plant kingdom, further research found that they are a type of fungus and, therefore, are genetically different from plants. For example, mushrooms and humans get nutrition from external sources, while plants use photosynthesis to make food. Mushrooms also need water and oxygen to survive. 

Also Read: Plant Life Cycle

Honey mushrooms are the largest living fungi worldwide. 

Honey mushrooms, or Armillaria, are the largest living fungal column worldwide. This is determined in terms of how much space it occupies. These mushrooms live in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon and take up more than 8.9 kilometers of space. They are also a type of white-rot fungus which affects trees and shrubs. 

There are around 14,000 types of mushrooms in the world. 

While mushrooms have been divided into different categories based on various kinds of physical characteristics, scientists have been able to identify more than 14,000 types of mushrooms throughout the world. 

There are four different types of mushrooms. 

The four types of mushrooms are endophytic, saprotrophic, parasitic, and mycorrhizal.  

Parasitic mushrooms feed off the plants they grow on. 

Mushroom on the tree

 Parasitic mushrooms are one of the four main mushroom types, and they typically kill the hosts that they feed off. Honey mushrooms are an excellent example of parasitic mushrooms because they grow on different kinds of trees and shrubs, eventually killing their host plants. 

Endophytic mushrooms are some of the more complex types of mushrooms. 

Endophytic mushroom

Unlike parasitic mushrooms, endophytic mushrooms have a more complex relationship with other kinds of plants. This is because endophytic mushrooms have both a symbiotic relationship and a parasitic relationship with their host plant. As a result, endophytic mushrooms take control of their host plant’s tissue, but instead of killing the plant, they help the plant gain nourishment and hydration. 

Mycorrhizal mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with their host plants. 

Mycorrhizal mushroom

While endophytic and parasitic mushrooms take over their host plants, mycorrhizal mushrooms and their host plants have a mutually beneficial relationship. This means that the mycorrhizal mushroom offers the host plant hydration, and in return, the host plants give the mushroom nutrition in the form of sugar. 

Read More: Forest Facts

Saprotrophic mushrooms convert dead plant matter into nutrition. 

The three other types of mushrooms thrive among alive and healthy plants, but saprotrophic mushrooms gain strength and life from decaying or dead wood. These mushrooms have the power to get nourishment from wood that is starting to decompose! It’s important to note that saprotrophic mushrooms quicken the decomposing process of the trees that they are attached to. 

There are 39 types of edible mushrooms. 

Different types of mushrooms

Even though there are thousands of mushrooms available all over the world, it’s important to note that many of them aren’t for consumption! However, out of the thousands, 39 types are safe to eat. These types of mushrooms include oyster mushrooms, button mushrooms, chanterelle mushrooms, enoki mushrooms, and portobello mushrooms. 

The mushroom fungi develop from a tissue called a primordium. 

The primordium is nothing but an organ or tissue that helps an organism grow. It develops from a simple group of cells that eventually trigger the growth of a particular organism, such as a mushroom. 

Psychoactive mushrooms are used to heal physical and mental illnesses. 

It’s no secret that plants and fungi of various types have played an essential role in treating illnesses throughout the centuries, which means that mushrooms are one of many fungi used. For example, the Psilocybin mushroom contains a chemical called Psilocybin. Mental health practitioners are currently studying this mushroom to assess its properties and see how it can help people suffering from mental illnesses like obsessive-compulsive disorder. Studies have also been conducted to know how this mushroom could help treat migraines, addiction, and cluster headaches. 

Mushrooms are popular in vegan and plant-based cooking. 

Mushroom food

Currently, vegan and plant-based cooking is getting more popular with each passing month. This means that people worldwide have begun to incorporate mushrooms into their diets are a meat substitute. Many even consider mushrooms to be the “meat” in the world of plants! 

Read More: Rainforest Facts

China is one of the largest producers of mushrooms in the whole world. 

The average person in China eats over two kilos of mushrooms every year! As a result, researchers have discovered that China is one of the largest mushroom producers in the world, producing over 37% of mushrooms every year. 

Mushrooms grow very quickly. 

When mushrooms absorb water, their growth speed increases, meaning that mushrooms grow very quickly over a few days; however, it is essential to note that mushrooms cannot grow overnight! A common misconception is that they can grow in hours when they take a few days. 

Big Mushroom

The study of mushrooms is called mycology. 

If you’ve ever wanted to learn more about fungi and yeast, then mycology is the path to follow! By studying mushrooms, you get the chance to learn about how you can utilize their various properties in science, healing, and medicine. 

Many people use mushrooms to make natural dyes

Mushroom skin contains many organic compounds that, when used correctly, provide people with bright colors! As a result, many people use mushrooms when dyeing fabric and wool. It’s worth remembering that using natural products like mushroom skins is safer than chemical and synthetic dyes. 

The shaggy mane mushroom eats itself! 

Shaggy mane mushroom

Shaggy mane mushrooms or Coprinus Comatus is a common type of edible mushroom. However, you must remember to eat it quickly before it starts to autodigest! Once this mushroom is picked for eating, it will promptly secrete a black, ink-like liquid from its gills and eventually, eat itself. Therefore, if you want to eat this mushroom, you must do so quickly. 

Conclusion 

When it comes to the world of mushrooms, there is so much information to learn that it can feel overwhelming when trying to pick a place to get started! In this article, we walked you through a list of 18 fascinating facts about mushrooms. We made sure to include information that you might not have come across before! Mushrooms have so much to offer you in terms of knowledge, and we hope that this article inspires you to delve into the world of fungi!