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The Mushroom and the Lightning

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posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:06 AM
I don't really know where to put this thread, a mushroom isn't an animal. It's not really a plant either. But this particular mushroom I'm gonna talk about is quite mysterious.

I've been trying to track down as much information as I can through Google about this particular species of mushroom that grows in Peninsular Malaysia. The locals call it "Cendawan Busut," literally "Termite-mound Mushroom." I managed to get one entry for it's scientific name, termitomyces albuminosa, but that plus the fact that it apparantly has a symbiotic relationship with termites nests is all the scientific bit of info on it I could find.

This particular mushroom is edible, and quite tasty to boot, a bit like grilled chicken (no joke!). Physically, it looks a bit obscene, though. A bit like a penis (just about the right size too). But slice the thing up to strips before adding it to the salad and it's all good.

So far nobody has been able to cultivate it -- anyone who does stand a chance to make loads of money here. What makes this particular mushroom so special and mysterious is that it will only appear under the most special of circumstances.

Firstly, there has to be heavy rain the night before it will appear. Secondly, not just any rain will do, it has to be the thunderstorm variety, with lots of lightning strikes. And finally, the lightning strikes must hit within 10-15 feet of a termite mound. If all those requirements are met, in the morning you will find a cluster of these mushrooms popping out around the termite mound. Within 2-3 days they will be large enough to harvest.

One more bit of information I could gather (basically from old village folks) is that if you want the termite mound to sprout more of these tasty mushrooms in the future, you mustn't pull the mushrooms out of the ground, but rather cut it near the base.

I'd post a picture, but like I said, I couldn't find much information much less a picture about this wonderful mushroom.

Any thoughts? Maybe any theories as to why it will only appear after those very specific conditions?

[edit - misspelled the genus name]

[edit on 17-2-2006 by Beachcoma]

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:21 AM
Are you sure this symbiotic relationship with mushrooms and termites is exclusive to just this species of mushrooms? I enjoy mushrooms as well... I don't know why but something about them always peaks my interest. I did a google search with the phrase 'termite mushroom.' Some interesting pictures did come up. Also some nice sites about mushrooms. I didn't, however, see any phallic looking mushrooms.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:40 AM
I don't think the symbiotic relationship is exclusive to this species only. After all there are termites out there that cultivate fungus for food, if I'm not mistaken.

Mushrooms are cool, I agree. All shapes, sizes, colours. So many species and so many uses.

I couldn't find much on Google either. I just found one site that made a passing mention of this species. The other sites I found were in Malay and were mainly discussing recipes that include this mushroom, or discussions on where one can obtain said mushrooms.

What really puzzles me about this mushroom is the lightning bit. Why does it take a lightning strike to make this thing sprout? Very strange, don't you think?

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 08:49 AM
That is very strange... I wonder if growth could be stimulated with man made electricity? But the question that would still need to be answered is... Are the mushrooms responding to amperage or voltage? Or both?

Also... I think you are right about termites cultivating fungus for sustenance. I was going to bring that up, but I couldn't remember if it was ants or termites doing this.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:01 AM

Originally posted by Beachcoma
What really puzzles me about this mushroom is the lightning bit. Why does it take a lightning strike to make this thing sprout? Very strange, don't you think?

From :

Lightning, does some good, too. It manufactures right out of the air, about 100 million tons of valuable nitrogen fertilizer every year. Air consists of roughly four parts nitrogen to onepart oxygen. Lightning discharges combine the nitrogen andoxygen with the rain which carries the fixed nitrogen down.Much of it falls into the sea, but enough comes down on land to help at least a little in fertilizing the soil. Fertilizer manufacturers have used the same method to getnitrogen out of the air, by discharging electric sparks continu-ously.

Could that not be a reason? I'm not up on mushroom growing, but maybe lots of nitrogen and water is needed for these particular fungii?

[edited to correct grammar]

[edit on 17/2/06 by Asnivor]

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:07 AM
Good call Asnivor. That explains the rain and lighting. I'll bet if these shrooms were studied it would be found that they need high amounts of nitrogen to sprout. If that's the case I still would wager these mushrooms could be grown commercially.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:12 AM
The times i've gone out trying to pick shrooms in the UK has taught me one thing...they do require very specific conditions. The temperature has to be just right, the ground needs to be wet enough, there needs to have been enough animal excrement in the field, and you have to just be lucky enough to spot them. Many a time i've been walking round all day and finding nothing.
This is magic mushrooms I'm talking about (and i was picking them BEFORE the UK law was changed), but surely they are comparible to exotic strains of non hallucinagenic fungii?

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:20 AM
I managed to find one illustration of the mushroom:

They are usually harvested just before the cap opens up, as you can see it's pretty phallic-looking. It's still okay after the cap opens, it's just that a bit of the taste is gone by then.

I'm not sure if they respond to either voltage or ampereage, or both. It's hard enough to find these mushrooms, you pretty much gotta wait for a thunderstorm to happen before you can go out looking for them.

Asnivor, that thought did occur to me. It could very well be a combination of the voltage, ampereage and extra nitrates the lightning provides.

Another note I should add is that while it takes 2-3 days before the mushroom is ready for harvest, my uncle did mention to me that he saw with his own eyes the thing popping out of the ground almost immediately after a lightning strike.

What do any of you make of that?

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:23 AM
You are correct... I've searched the cow pastures of Nebraska in the past for those fun mushrooms. Those days are long gone now though. You know you can grow those yourself right? Some mushrooms can't be grown commercially. But some can, I still think with the right type of soil, moisture, and some sparking electrodes you may be able to make a profit off these 'termite shrooms.'

Hell, if it's the Nitrogen the lighting produces... Why can't you just saturate the soil with cow manure? I don't know... Just a boring day today. Snowed in and the blizzard isn't letting up.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 09:50 AM
Found this bit of information on our mushroom here:

UN Food and Agriculture Organization

Termitomyces contains important wild edible species. These fungi only grow in association with termites and their nests and are dependent on the organic matter brought by the insects from their feeding on trees. Although Termitomyces are saprobic, they are symbiotic with termites.

I guess I need a termite farm if I want to have any chance of successfully cultivation this mushroom. Even so it would actually be the termites who are cultivating it, not me...

I'm gonna keep on searching, apparantly there's a whole bunch of other 'termite mushroom' species. If even one of them has been cultivated successfully then I'd be a step closer at figuring out how to get this lightning-loving variety to grow sans the termites.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 12:01 PM

Originally posted by LostSailor
You are correct... I've searched the cow pastures of Nebraska in the past for those fun mushrooms. Those days are long gone now though. You know you can grow those yourself right?

Yeah, i've bought various fresh UK grown cultivated species from around the world back when there was still the loophole in the law over here. All with pretty different effects. None of them really like the fresh Liberty Caps that grow round here (in strength or effect).

Pretty much the craziest one that i've tried once and never seen again is the European Fly Agaric (amanita muscaria). If your lucky they can be found round the bottom of Silver Birch trees in this area. We had to bake them for about 40 minutes before we could take them and it was like no trip i've ever had before. Nails in the wall turning into tiny spiders and running around the place etc...

Ahh the folly of youth. To be young again

Interestingly enough I found a site linking it to Santa Claus...


posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 06:37 PM
That sounds tasty, Beachcoma.

I love mushrooms and go picking them a few times a year. In my area we get several different wild varieties that are safe to eat and tasty.


Those are my favorites, found most commonly in spring/early summer after a nice rain and some nice humidity.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 07:00 PM
Oh yeah... Morels grow wild up here in Northern Michigan. I love picking them. After soaking them over night in some salt water. I like to fry them up with butter until they are golden brown. Toss them on a salad or just eat them by themselves. Very very tasty mushrooms indeed.

posted on Feb, 17 2006 @ 07:10 PM
`Oh ya. Soaking them is part of the fun ! It's amazing how many slugs and other yucky bugs are in them!

posted on Feb, 18 2006 @ 12:13 AM
How do they taste like? Is it any good in omelettes?

posted on Jul, 20 2008 @ 04:28 AM
reply to post by Beachcoma

Termites also gathers fungus which served as their food just like other species of ants. excess of these fungus from termites nest will develop into mushrooms. and when favored by temperature especially during rainy season they will pop up when exposed to sudden shock of temperature i.e.,lightning which is believed to enhanced their germination.

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