The biggest Fungi I have seen so far.

Today I was invited to a very friendly and kind ladies property to see the giant Fungi which grows in her garden. I can tell you , my mouth felt open by seeing the size of them. These fungi were the biggest Fungi I have seen so far. Their common name is the Giant Puffball fungi.
At the moment there where two in her garden. The white one in the image on the right was rotting. She told me that she kept an eye on them over a few days and that they grew about 2cm a day. This white one which was rotting was about 27 cm in width. There was another one which was totally dried out. When we poked a stick in it , all the spores came out. Some grow in the wood chips and others grow in the grass. I wish I had them in my yard. The white one had a whole where also the spores could escape out of. She told me that people could eat them when they were still little. I found them very fascinating and was so happy that she invited me , so I could have a look and take photo’s. She knows I am a fungi hunter you see ;o))
If she reads this, I want to say ; Thank you so much, I really appreciated it and I had a great time. Also thank you for the cookies and the coffee !!

Here some more information about the Puffballs

The giant puffball cracks open to allow the wind to carry away its spores. Other puffballs have a small opening at the top. The wind may suck spores out of these openings like smoke drawn from a chimney. The spores can also be “puffed” out of the opening when the fruiting body is hit by raindrops Each spore is 3.5 to 5.5 microns in diameter. They are bone dry, making a mature giant puffball a sack of fine powder. The Lakota tribe of Native Americans used this clean dry material in their medicine. They would pack large wounds with puffball spores to slow bleeding and help blood clot. Giant puffballs are found in the central and eastern USA and Canada.

Although Fungi were once considered to be part of the plant kingdom, most experts now consider them to be a separate Kingdom or phylum. There are estimated to be over 100,000 different fungi, most of which form only tiny threads (Hypha) that can only be seen through a microscope. Of these, about 20,000 are considered to be high fungi or macro fungi, i.e. those that produce visible fruiting bodies. Only these are of any interest to the fungi enthusiast and covered in any detail, mostly of which belong to the subdivision Ascomycotina and Basidiomycotina.

Species of fungi are divided into the following three categories
1 – Mycorrhizal fungi form a partnership with some plants,but mostly with living trees.
2 – Parasitic fungi prefer the living host; this category is fairly small.
3 – Saprophytic fungi prefer dead and decaying material.

Mycorrhizal
Mycorrhizal fungi form a partnership mainly with trees but also with some plants, but rather then harming the tree, their presence significantly increases the roots’ effectiveness. Fungi send their hyphae in and about the little rootlets of the tree until its difficult to tell them apart. The tree supplies the mycelium with moisture and carbohydrates, and the mycelium returns the favour with minerals and other nutrients from the surrounding soil. Mycorrhiza fungi are beneficial both in nature and agriculture; plants with them tend to grow better than those without.

Parasitic
Parasitic fungi are the second largest group, of whose members do a lot of serious damage. Rather than obtaining their food from dead animals or plants, they prefer a living host, often attacking and killing, it then living on as a saprophytic fungi.

Saprophytic
Saprophytic fungi are the largest group of fungi, they growing on dead organic matter such as fallen trees, cow patties, dead leaves, and even dead insects and animals. These fungi have enzymes that work to “rot” or “digest” the cellulose and lignin found in the organic matter, with the lignin being an important source of carbon for many organisms. Without their digestive activities, organic material would continue to accumulate until the forest became a huge rubbish dump of dead leaves and trees.

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The biggest Fungi I have seen so far. by 


Giant Puffball Fungi

The lady stood next to it, so I could take an image to show how big the Fungi was

A closer look at the one which was all dried up and full of spores.

When poking a stick in it, Spores are easily spread. She does not mind as she likes them growing in her garden. I can’t blame her ;o)

Esther’s RedBubble overview page with links to most of her fungi images and her travels are updated in the Worldisround when she has time. Please have a read, as some you might like to visit yourself One day.

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Comments

  • artsandherbs
    artsandherbsabout 5 years ago

    This is spectacular. I never knew they could grow so big – and in Australia ? I thought all fungi needed a lot of moist so I would never have expected them in Australia… Thank you for sharing !

  • Thank you, Mieke. Australia still has rain forests and here in Tasmania ( a small island, about the size of Holland/Nederland ) we get a lot of rain. The same as in Europe. I even had still fungi in myn groeten tuin this week.. LOL I was surpised to see such gif ones myself. Ongeloofelyk !! De grootste ik ooit gezien heb ;o))

    – Esther's Art and Photography

  • steppeland
    steppelandabout 5 years ago

    wow, these are giant ones indeed, Esther! I remember when I was a teen, we found some of these puffballs of similar size… but that’s a long time ago, lol, and maybe my memory has made them grow still a little LOL – But since then, I never saw them this big again… They are amazing, isn’t it!

    Thanks for this great write up about them! :)

  • Thank you so much, Scott !! and for the fav . Misshien omdat je een kleine jonge was dan , leken ze wel groter LOL I sure fornd them very fascinating and it was a fantastic to get the oppertunity to see them ;o))

    – Esther's Art and Photography

  • Clive
    Cliveabout 5 years ago

    Great capture Esther, and it is huge compared to the ones I seen, a fantastic narration to accompany the image my friend xx

  • Thank you, Clive. It was all most unbelievable so big it was. I was very happy to have seen it and was able to take photo’s of it ;o))

    – Esther's Art and Photography

  • larie200
    larie200about 5 years ago

    Wow, these are fantastic, you must have been excited! I’ve never seen any this big; with their size they must surely release a lot of spores back into the enviroment. Great info to go with a great find!!

  • Thank you so much, I sure was very excited !! I wish I could have taken some spores home. Like planting some seeds LOL Would not mind having these in my garden ;o))

    – Esther's Art and Photography

  • fezoj64
    fezoj64about 5 years ago

    Pretty specimen !My neighbour found skywards knee ,around 50 cm. ..Jozef

  • How exciting is that , Jozef. Next time please add some photo’s of your neighbors fungi. Would love to see them !! Cheers from Esther

    – Esther's Art and Photography

  • ManRayFan
    ManRayFanabout 5 years ago

    This is great! I have seen puffballs here on the West coast of the states at Point Reyes. The biggest was around 8 inches. I have had smaller ones to eat! Sliced thin and sauteed in a little butter and herbs. Mmmm!

  • Thank you so much, Ed !! I am still a bit scared to eat Mushrooms from the wild. I dont know if I ever will ;o)) 8 inches is still pretty big too. Wonderful !

    – Esther's Art and Photography

  • Dirk Pagel
    Dirk Pagelabout 5 years ago

    I think this Puffball is a funghi from the Bovists family, the Bovists have the same characteristics as the Puffball, but they are smaller, the biggest i have seen was ca. 5cm.
    But i have found years ago a Parasol, the have a cap of ca. 30cm and a high of 40cm……and is a good food funghi, one Parasol are a full meal for the whole Family :)

  • Wow, that sounds very interesting. Thank you so much, Dirk. I will stick to the Botton fungi, I buy from the shop LOL Have a great weekend !

    – Esther's Art and Photography

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