- ZURICH (Reuters) - Europe's
biggest mushroom growth, spanning an area 800 by 500 meters, has been discovered
in a Swiss national park, scientists said Friday.
- The 1,000-year-old fungus, covering an area equivalent
to around 100 football pitches, was found near the Ofenpass in the mountainous
southeastern canton (state) of Grisons and judged to be a single growth
after a detailed survey.
- "The majority of the fungus is an underground network
that looks a bit like shoelaces. The surface mushrooms look like the normal
type you would pick, and are brown to yellow," said Muriel Bendel,
a spokeswoman for the Swiss research association for forestry, snow and
- The fungus, "Armillaria ostoyae" or honey mushroom,
is edible, the WSL said, adding it had been known since Roman times for
its cleansing effects on the digestive tract -- as long as it was eaten
raw. But certain forms can kill trees.
- The WSL said Switzerland's monster mushroom was trumped
only by a growth in the United States which covers a surface area of nine
sq km and weighs an estimated 600 tons.