This Is the World’s Largest Living Organism, and It’s Bigger Than You Could Ever Imagine

Imaginary view of the Earth in outer space

Imaginary view of the Earth in outer space | iStock.com/titoOnz

If someone asked you to name the largest organism on the planet Earth, your mind would probably race straight towards the image of a blue whale or an elephant. Which is understandable. When we think of living things we generally think “animal.” But there something doesn’t have to be an animal to be alive.

So at 30 meters long and 180 tons, a blue whale is pretty darn big but isn’t even close to the largest living organism on the planet.

That distinction goes to something a lot less fun, but…WAY bigger.

It’s something called a honey fungus, found in Oregon’s Blue Mountains. It’s also called the honey mushroom, and despite the sweet name, this guy can do a LOT of damage thanks to both its destructive nature and its enormous size.

You’re probably wondering how big this thing is, aren’t you? Check out the answer to your question on the next page.

This single organism covers a staggering 2,400 acres. That’s 1,665 football fields, so even though mushrooms aren’t known to be particularly dense or heavy, the sheer expanse of this thing has it trump the blue whale in what’s not even a close contest.

What’s funny is that this giant thing was sitting under our noses for millennia, but it wasn’t until 1992 that scientists realized just how big this honey fungus is.

First, they noticed one in Michigan that was giant in its own right at 37 acres. Then in Washington state, they found one that was MUCH bigger at 1,500 acres. But even that behemoth still falls short of the Oregon specimen, which was discovered in 1998. Scientists had turned their attention to this area to see why an abnormal number of trees were dying in the Blue Mountains. It turns out that this fungus was basically “infecting” the trees, leading them to early deaths.

Not just is this expansive fungus the largest organism on Earth, but at 8,650 years old, it’s one of the oldest, too. And there’s no sign of it slowing down in its old age.