Science on Friday: Mushroom Month Trivia

Fri., Sep. 2, 2022

By Claudia Victoroff, MS, Graduate Student

By Claudia Bashian-Victoroff

September is one of our favorite months in the Holden Forests & Gardens Soil Ecology lab. Why? Because it is National Mushroom Month. Many people celebrate National Mushroom Month by cooking and eating their favorite mushrooms. And we do too! But we also celebrate the month by appreciating all that fungi do for the natural world around us.

To kick off mushroom month, we’re doing something a little different for this week’s Science on Friday! Welcome to virtual mycology trivia!! Your questions are below. Over the next month you can submit your answers to my email with the subject “trivia”. On Friday September 30th, in the final installment of Science on Friday for the month of September we will announce the winner and the correct answers! Have fun and please refrain from using the google machine! 

Without further ado:

Round 1: General mushroom trivia knowledge! In this round each correct answer will receive a point, with up to three possible bonus points!

  1. This genus of fungi is responsible for 95% of fatalities resulting from mushroom poisoning!

BONUS: This species alone (within the genus above) is responsible for 50% of all fatal mushroom poisonings!

  1. Fungi are often estimated to be the most diverse group of life, but only a small portion of their estimated species diversity has been discovered and described by science. Approximately how many species of fungi have scientists discovered?
    1. 7,000
    2. 70,000
    3. 150,000
    4. 500,000

BONUS: How many species of fungi are estimated to exist in the world? Closest guess will win the bonus point!

  1. This children’s author and illustrator published beloved picture books in the early 1900s, but her contributions to mycology were overlooked at the time likely due to her gender. Along with her many beautiful and scientifically accurate illustrations of fungi, this author contributed early observations of spore germination to the Linnean Society.

BONUS: The above author also wrote scientific theories on lichens. Lichens are composite organisms that exist due to the obligate symbiosis between what two types of organisms?

  1. Unlike plants, fungi do not rely on the sun for energy. Instead, fungi can live as decomposers, parasites, or mutualists (where both organisms benefit from the interaction). What key process do plants perform to absorb energy, which fungi do not?

BONUS: Shiitake mushrooms are common edible mushrooms (that we even grow here at Holden!). Shiitake’s grow on dead logs, meaning that they are…

  1. Decomposers
  2. Parasites
  3. Mutualists

Round 2: In this round I will replace some of the lyrics of common songs with a mushroom word or term. Your answer should be the name of the song and its artist.

Example: “Hey shroom don’t make it bad. Take a sad song and make it better. Remember to let her into your heart, then you can start to make it better.” (1968) Answer: Hey Jude by The Beatles

  1. “She’s so lucky, she’s a slime mold, but she cry, cry, cries in her lonely heart thinking, “if there’s nothing missing in my life then why do these tears come at night?”” (2000)
  2. “Laughing and a-running, hey, hey. Skipping and a-jumping in the misty morning fog with our hearts a-thumping, and you, my brown-spore print, you, my brown-spore print.” (1967)
  3. “Hey, I just met you and this is crazy, but here’s my number, so call me, hyphae.” (2011)
  4. “And feeling good was easy, when he sang the blues. You know feeling good was good enough for me; good enough for me and my Bolete” (1971)

Round 3: Photo round, do you know your mushrooms?

In this round I will accept the latin or the common name of the mushroom pictured. Unless noted, the latin should include both the genus and the species name. If the common name provided doesn’t match the common name in any common field guide, or if it incorrectly matches a different fungus, the answer will not be counted as correct.

Picture 1
Picture 2 (Hint: The genus of this mushroom is the answer to round 1 question 1!)
Picture 3 (Note: If answering with latin names, genus only is OK.)
Picture 4 (Hint: This edible mushroom is often referred to in culinary spaces by its Italian derived common name.)
Claudia Victoroff, MS

Claudia Victoroff, MS

Graduate Student

As a PhD student in the Burke lab, my research is focused on ectomycorrhizal fungi in forest ecosystems. I am passionate about coupling field collections with molecular identification methods to investigate ectomycorrhizal species diversity. My PhD research is focused on investigating ectomycorrhizal fungal communities in forests with different land use and disturbance histories. I am particularly interested in the functional roles that fungi with distinct life history strategies fill in soil, and in symbiosis with their plant partners. My masters research investigated ectomycorrhizal fungal fruiting responses to nitrogen and phosphorus additions in Bartlett Experimental Forest, New Hampshire.

Learn more about me


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