Monday, December 26, 2011

MONDAY MORNING SCIENCE CORNER: Armillaria solidipes AKA The Most Metal Thing You've Ever Read

Wikipedia: Armillaria solidipes (formerly Armillaria ostoyae) is a species of fungus in the Physalacriaceae family. It is the most common variant in the western U.S., of the group of species that all used to share the name Armillaria mellea. Armillaria solidipes is quite common on both hardwood and conifer wood in forests west of the Cascade crest. The mycelium attacks the sapwood and is able to travel great distances under the bark or between trees in the form of black rhizomorphs ("shoestrings").

Here's where it gets heavy:

It is known to be one of the largest living organisms, where scientists have estimated a single specimen found in Malheur National Forest in Oregon to have been growing for some 2,400 years, covering 3.4 square miles. Armillaria solidipes grows and spreads primarily underground and the bulk of the organism lies in the ground, out of sight. Therefore, the organism is not visible to anyone viewing from the surface. It is only in the autumn when this organism will bloom “honey mushrooms”, visible evidence of the organism lying beneath. Low competition for land and nutrients have allowed this organism to grow so huge and become arguably the largest living organism.

That's 2,200 ACRES.
That's 94,786,560 SQUARE FEET.

Biologists estimate the weight of the colony to be somewhere in the neighborhood of 600 tons. That's the equivalent weight of three pregnant, adult blue whales, the world's largest known mammal.

Is your brain okay?

Maybe you should cool down by watching this video--depicting an Armillaria mellea mycelium bioluminescence display in time-lapse (condensed from one week to 18 seconds)--on repeat for a little while:

Now go 'Like' Armillaria solidipes on Facebook! (I was the third person to do so, get in now before it's "cool"!)


purplerainingblood said...

Nice. It's like that X-Files episode.

The Thing That Should Not Be said...

Uh-oh, posting pile-up!

Shelby Cobras said...

Sorry, I scheduled this to post and was then out of town/away from internet for a couple days. My bad.

The Thing That Should Not Be said...

No sir, MY bad.

JGD said...

bro move: I was the third person to 'like' Armillaria Solidpipes

Shelby Cobras said...

I thought I was #3. Maybe my post actually made someone "unlike".

these a beast said...

who is the science animated gif and why hasn't windows made desktop backgrounds able to animate yet. but seriously who is that, i can't stop laughing.

these a beast said...

oh and the titan arum - aka giant misshapen penis aka corpseflower - is a competitor for the most metal plant on earth. feel free to beat me to that post.

Shelby Cobras said...

Fuck yeah, the first year I lived in SF they brought the corpse flower to our Conservatory of Flowers on some sort of international corpse flower tour. I didn't go though, because despite the inherent metal-ness of the Amorphophallus titanum, it is immediately cancelled out by the act of hanging out at a place called the "Conservatory of Flowers". Self-respecting Hessians should never be discovered in such a place.

The science gif you allude to is the illustrious Eric Wareheim, half of Tim & Eric (proprietors of the eponymous Awesome Show, Great Job!).

these a beast said...

you had me at "international corpse tour" and that totally supercedes any pansy-named venue.

Reginald said...

International Corpse Tour at the Flaccid Vaginal Mascara Tent. Be there, or be conflicted over weather or not to go, then realise the tour is over and the flap has sealed itself shut like my ex.