How old can a fungi get

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NellyDee
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How old can a fungi get

Post by NellyDee » Sun Jun 12, 2016 2:40 pm

Just curious. Found these Polyporus? Fomes? Around an ancient Oak Tree Stump by the ruins of Kilmorie Chapel (Argyll's Secret Coast coast). I found it fascinating how they were topped by a reddish looking dust that seems to rundown between where the roots once spread (down the groves) and I loved the way the moss capped them in places.

ImageDSCF3914 by Helen Skelton, on Flickr

Flaxton
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Re: How old can a fungi get

Post by Flaxton » Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:55 pm

Hi
These are Ganoderma (applanatum?). The powder is the spores.
Mal

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NellyDee
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Re: How old can a fungi get

Post by NellyDee » Mon Jun 13, 2016 8:17 am

Thank you Mal. I found it really interesting looking up the information on this - like the name "Artist's Fungus" seemed appropriate somehow :)

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Lancashire Lad
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Re: How old can a fungi get

Post by Lancashire Lad » Mon Jun 13, 2016 11:53 am

Hi Nelly,

As to your "How old . . ." question, current consensus suggests that (what is presently accepted by definition as one organism) the oldest known "individual" living fungus is between 2000 and 8000 years of age. - It is also the largest living fungus, and, if one accepts the definitions involved, it is also the largest (known) living thing on the planet.

I did some reading-up on this when the particular fungus example in question, an Armillaria - Honey Fungus species, was discovered back in the late 1990's.
Here's a link to a webpage that gives the general gist of things: - http://www.bbc.co.uk/earth/story/201411 ... -the-world

I recall seeing a far better article on the subject, but haven't been able to find it again.

My problem with accepting this fungus as an individual organism that is several thousand years old and covers several square miles of area, lies in the definition used for an individual organism, i.e. (quoting the final paragraph of the linked article): -
"Biologists have long debated what constitutes an individual organism. The record-breaking A. solidipes clonal colony passes the test based on a definition of being made up of genetically identical cells that can communicate, and that have a common purpose or can at least coordinate themselves".

And quoting further from the article: -

"When mycelia from genetically identical A. solidipes meet, they can fuse to form one individual. The researchers harnessed this ability, growing fungi samples in pairs in petri dishes. By observing which ones fused and which ones rejected each other, they found that 61 of the trees had been struck down by the same clonal colony – individuals with identical genetic make-up that all originated from one organism".

This accepts the fungus as one single organism, because it is comprised of "fused" sections of genetically identical mycelia which would have developed via normal fungal reproduction methods as individual "clones" of their predecessors.

To my mind, the fact that some (many!) of these identical clones, (each an individual organism in its own right), have established themselves physically in relatively close locations, such that their individual sets of mycelia have grown, encountered other, adjacent but yet still individual sets of mycelia, and then fused with those adjacent sets of mycelia, doesn't really pass the test for having always been one individual organism.
Originated from one individual organism - yes. But always been an individual organism? - definitely not!

To me, this immense fungus remains simply the result of many separate clones that have each grown as individual organisms, and which have subsequently, (because they are genetically identical), been able to physically join up with each other. - However, I'm not a scientist so what do I know? :roll: :lol:

Regards,
Mike.
Common sense is not so common.

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NellyDee
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Re: How old can a fungi get

Post by NellyDee » Wed Jun 15, 2016 8:17 am

Very interesting, thank you Mike. I am inclined to agree with you. I had a similar discussion recently regarding a fern that is a thousand years old - I lost :roll: It's base was very wide very tall and very long, and I suggested, taking mine as an example, that being in the same place all that was happening was the seeds were merely dropping down and thus growing in the same place and making the mound steadily bigger each year or it was sending an off shoot off it's main root. I was told it was it's root that was that old :oops:

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