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Giant mushroom found in China (+video)

Giant mushroom: This fungus has not yet been identified. But it's not big enough to dislodge Oregon's giant honey mushroom as the largest in the world.

Giant Mushroom found in China
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China's Yunnan province is known as the "Kingdom of Mushrooms" for its rich diversity of more than 600 species of edible fungi.

But even the hungriest of mushroom fans might find this monster mushroom, recently discovered in Yunnan, a little hard to swallow.

The mushroom, a species that has yet to be identified, measures 37 inches (93 centimeters) across the top and weighs about 33 pounds (15 kilograms), according to Science World Report. [Magnificent Microphotography: 50 Tiny Wonders]

Fungi, including mushrooms, are neither plants nor animals and instead form their own group of living organisms that generally reproduce by spores and contain nuclei with chromosomes. Perhaps surprisingly due to their plantlike appearance, fungi are more closely related to animals than to plants.

China's mushroom industry is a multimillion-dollar operation, with sales equivalent to $44 million in 2005, according to The Diplomat. And some of the finest and costliest specimens, such as the rare Tricholoma matsutake mushroom — highly prized as a delicacy in Japan — come from Yunnan.

The giant mushroom discovered in China might not be safe to eat; many mushrooms are poisonous. Two women in California were killed recently after eating a soup made of toxic mushrooms.


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