Big-Ass Tree Fungus


Encountered on Francisco Street, between Milvia and Martin Luther King, earlier this week: A large mushroom-like fungus growing on an old non-flowering plum of some sort; it’s about 16 inches wide and 12 inches high and protrudes maybe a foot from the tree trunk; big enough to be considered a fellow citizen here in Berkeley. I took a couple pictures, but they didn’t come out. Went back today expecting that it had shriveled up or that some bored passer-by had decided to knock it off the tree for the fun of it. But there it still was. My mycologically inclined neighbor and friend Jill says this kind of organism actually is pretty woody and durable and likely to last a long time. She also said that it’s likely non-toxic and that if you ever find yourself hard up for food in the woods, the thing to do would be to break it up and boil it and drink the broth; of course, you’ll need to be carrying the right equipment to do that when you’re hard up for food in the woods.


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