16 Most Bizarre Mushroom And Fungi Species In The World

With about 14,000 described mushrooms currently inhabiting dank forest floors, decaying tree trunks, and dung piles, there are bound to be some strange-looking varieties. Some depart entirely from the toadstool silhouette—the stereotypical rounded-cap-atop-a-stem set—with lengthy hairlike spines, fanning shell shapes, flower-esque pedals, and lattice designs. Others that lack uniqueness in shape are fantastic in their royal blue, indigo, and even bioluminescent colors.

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Many of the most bizarre mushrooms on the planet are extremely elusive. Here's something you probably didn't know: fungi are the unsung heroes of tree and plant care. One specific type of fungus, the Mycorrhizal fungus, (say that three times fast!) forms an essential symbiotic relationship with plant roots. Mycorrhizal fungi help tree and shrub roots find water and nutrients. In return, the roots give the fungi carbon, carbohydrates, and other nutrients. Want to learn more about fungi? Here are 16 of our favorite fungi facts.