COOL IMAGES: Mushroom of the Month Club

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Science  05 Feb 1999:
Vol. 283, Issue 5403, pp. 755
DOI: 10.1126/science.283.5403.755a

Glistening in a rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula is this species of honey mushroom, discovered only a couple of years ago by mycologist Tom Volk of the University of Wisconsin, La Crosse. It appears as the February Fungus of the Month on Volk's Web site, which holds more than 1000 fungus photos, from the wonder drug factory Penicillium to uncelebrated corn smut and mildews. Although the images may be most useful to specialists—they're sorted by scientific name—the Fungus of the Month grows on laypeople, too. The site describes medical fungi such as Candida albicans, which causes yeast infections in people, and summarizes the various vegetable blights and rots that it says “must be overcome” for us to have Thanksgiving dinner. Also check out horror stories such as the slender, white “death angel” mushroom: Eat just one, and within a few days its liver toxin can kill you.

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