That’s Right, A Half-Ton Fungus

In China they’re saying, among us is fungus—
This new one’s a record, a king of the giants!
It grew where a log was decaying, they’re saying,
And this is the largest recorded by science!

The years that it grew, maybe twenty, were plenty
To see that it reached its improbable size
Such wonderful things may be found all around us
Just all the more reason to open your eyes!

Via the BBC, a story on the world’s largest yet documented (I love that phrase–not “world’s largest” but “world’s largest yet documented”–it gives me the same feeling that pirate stories used to when I was a young cuttlesquirt, that there are wonders out there for those willing to look for them) fungus fruiting body, weighing in at half a ton.

It’s a bracket fungus (or shelf fungus); I had always heard that all bracket fungi were edible, but wiki tells me (I know, I know) that bracket fungi are grouped by appearance rather than phylogeny, so there is no guarantee that they have just found dinner for 2,500.


  1. llewelly says

    Bracket fungus also grows in ill-maintained code written in bracket-using programming languages like smalltalk, C, C++, Objective C, perl, and Java. Lisp code is subject to a related fungus, paren fungus. XML is the worst affected of all languages, even though it is only a markup language.

  2. liatris says

    Thanks for bringing this to my attention, and for your clever verse interpretation!

    Maybe your approach will catch on; wouldn’t it be cool if the BBC or NPR started hiring rhyming poets to do their stories? It would make the news so much more palatable.

    Fox News in verse form would be a hoot indeed. What if Rush Limbaugh was forced by his venal employers to make his rants rhyme?

  3. cuttlefish says

    liatris– There was once, syndicated to a handful of newspapers, a column by Felicia Lamport, titled “Muse of the Week in Review”. It ran in the Sunday paper, and would have a verse or two or three on current headline stories. Her verse was beautifully constructed, and her sense of humor dry as, well, the American West these days.

    And of course there is Calvin Trillin over at The Nation, in his position as “Deadline Poet”. I have not yet had the opportunity to read any of his work, but I am told it’s excellent.

    I suspect it’s a bit of a niche market!

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