Whole groves of evergreen trees in Malheur National Park in eastern Oregon were rotting from the inside and falling apart. The only sign of the culprit came every autumn, when strangely beautiful clumps of honey colored mushrooms would burst forth from rotting stumps and fallen trees.
Scientists investigating this phenomenon discovered that it was a pathogenic fungus causing the trees to die. Armillaria solidipes, to be more precise. They also discovered something truly amazing.
It was all one organism.
Currently, this massive monster is more than three miles in diameter and takes up more area than 1500 football fields.
The coolest thing, in my opinion, is that this vast, hidden monster is edible. If I wanted to, I could go to Oregon next fall and pick a basket of juicy mushrooms. It might not taste that great, but who could miss the opportunity to snack on one of the world's largest organisms?
Certainly not this guy.