Monster Mushroom Sprawls in Switzerland

Europe's biggest mushroom growth, spanning an area of 800 by 500 meters has been discovered in a Swiss national park.

The 1,000-year-old fungus, covering an area equivalent to around 100 football fields, is found near the Ofenpass in the mountainous southeastern canton(state) of Grisons and judged to be a single growth after a detailed survey.

The fungus "Armillaria ostoyae" or honey mushroom, is edible and has been known since Roman times for its cleansing effects on the digestive tract -- as long as it is eaten raw. But certain forms can kill trees.

The WSL said Switzerland's monsterous mushroom is trumped only by a growth in the United States which covers a surface area of five square miles and weighs an estimated 600 tons.