Observation 147839: Laetiporus sulphureus (Bull.) Murrill

When: 2005-10-24

Collection location: Maysville, Missouri, USA [Click for map]

Who: Danny Newman (myxomop)

No specimen available

from The Kansas City Star by way of http://www.shroomery.org/forums/showflat.php/Number/4858336:

Missouri’s monstrous mushroom!
October 27, 2005 – kansascity.com

A 56-pound fungus
Ty Whitmore knew he had a whopper wild mushroom.

“I wanted to see if I had a world record,” Whitmore said. “It was so heavy, and I was trying to carry it without damaging it, which was hard because I had to wade across creeks, and the brush in the woods was hitting it.”

Record or not, he’s in the big-time.

On Monday, Whitmore was cutting firewood at a relative’s farm near Maysville in northwest Missouri, when he noticed an orange and yellow mushroom growing in layers from the base of a maple tree beside a creek. He cut it off the trunk with a handsaw.

“The biggest half fell in the water,” said Whitmore, 19, of Kansas City, North.

But the smaller piece was so heavy he could barely carry it to his pickup a mile away. It weighed 56 pounds on a scale at a grocery in Maysville.

After checking the Internet, he knew this humongous fungus was a sulfur shelf mushroom, the “chicken of the woods,” named for its good eating qualities.

Guinness World Records on the Internet lists the largest edible fungi as a giant puffball weighing 48 pounds, 8 ounces.

Whitmore said he was undecided about whether to weigh his mushroom again and submit it to Guinness. He can tell by lifting that it has lost some moisture weight since it was cut.

A Missouri Department of Conservation employee measured it Tuesday morning at 30 inches wide and 16 inches from top to bottom.

One expert who has studied this type of mushroom for 38 years was impressed.

“That’s the biggest sulfur shelf mushroom I’ve ever seen, period,” said Harold Burdsall, 64, a retired U.S. Forest Service fungus expert in Madison, Wis.

Burdsall was looking at photographs of Whitmore’s find sent to him by e-mail.

Reference books list the biggest sulfur shelf at about 20 inches wide, said James W. Kimbrough, an expert on molds, mildews and mushrooms at the University of Florida. The scientific name is Laetiporus sulphureus.

It’s doubtful anyone has a reliable record book for individual mushroom species, the experts said.

“But that’s got to be among the largest ever found in North America,” Kimbrough said.

As a bonus, this type of mushroom tastes great, Burdsall said, with a firm texture and plenty of flavor.

“If there are two wild mushrooms on the table, I’d always take that one, even over morels,” he said.

Whitmore’s trophy probably took about two weeks to grow, boosted by plentiful autumn rains and moist, cool conditions.

A mushroom is similar to an apple growing on a tree, only the mushroom is connected to a fungus that has been living in the tree’s core for decades, Burdsall said.

“That maple has a nasty heart rot to produce a mushroom that size,” he said.

Whitmore said the part of mushroom that fell into the creek was a larger clump growing on top of the one he saved. He said the water was too cold and deep to retrieve it. But on Tuesday, he pondered the record possibilities lost.

“It might have weighed 120 pounds altogether,” he said.

Whitmore was planning to eat a chunk that broke off in his trunk. But he could not decide whether to keep his mammoth mushroom as a trophy or sell it to the highest bidder.

“I hunt and fish,” he said, “but this is the best thing I ever got, a real trophy.”

Apparently also mentioned on the Martha Stewart Show and an unnamed Toronto radio station. See "Kansas City Star – November 9, 2005 – B1 News “Discovery leads to fungi fame”

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Created: 2013-10-11 02:48:50 CST (+0800)
Last modified: 2013-10-11 02:48:54 CST (+0800)
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