The Largest Living Organism in the World is a Mushroom

honey fungusWhen you consider candidates for the largest living thing on earth, there may be several different things that come to mind.

Perhaps the blue whale, the largest mammals known to inhabit the earth, growing up to 30 metres long (that’s 3 double-decker buses end to end!) and weighing around 181 metric tonnes.

There are also some gigantic trees in the world that could be candidates for the top spot, the Giant Sequoia tree which are native to the Sierra Nevada Mountains of California can grow as tall as 82 Meters High! With their girth reaching up to 15 metres across, the tallest of these being General Sherman which is the largest single stem tree on earth!

However the title of largest organism on the planet goes to a fungus by the name of Armillaria ostoyae or the honey fungus. The honey fungus isn’t uncommon in the UK and can often be found in gardens growing on old bits of wood, however one specific honey fungus located in Malheur National Forest in Oregon in the USA has grown to a massive 8.9km² or 2,200 acres of area! The majority of the organism is underground in the form of a massive root system spanning for miles around and with little clumps of mushrooms popping up out of the ground. Researchers were unaware until recently that these clumps of mushrooms were in fact interlinked through the root system and thus creating the largest living organism on the planet with an estimated weight of 544 metric tonnes which is 3 times heavier than the blue whale!


Further reading:

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