Popular Science

This fungus has over 23,000 sexes and no qualms about it

Sex is extra strange if you're a shroom.
schizophyllum commune

Relationship status: It's complicated.

Fungi don’t abide by gender constructs. They live uninhibited (albeit unconscious) lives, mating freely with almost any other member of their species. In short, they’re wonderful.

One particularly promiscuous mushroom, known scientifically as (and affectionately as “schizo”), looks deceptively mundane. It’s a form of wood rot that lives in parts of the East Indies, Thailand, India, Madagascar, and Nigeria, where plenty of people eat it—despite many Western guidebooks classifying the shroom as “inedible.”

You're reading a preview, sign up to read more.

More from Popular Science

Popular Science2 min read
With Thousands Missing And Displaced After Dorian, The Bahamas May Soon Get Hit By A Tropical Storm
Recovery efforts on these northern Bahamian islands have only just begun, and many small villages have not yet received aid.
Popular Science4 min readPsychology
Algorithms Aren't All Created Equal
A recent poll found that most Americans think algorithms are unfair. But was the poll itself biased?
Popular Science5 min readFashion & Beauty
A Denim Fix That's Better Than A Patch
There’s a particular sick stomach lurch that happens when you rip a favorite pair of jeans, not unlike the feeling of losing a beloved pet or fumbling a fragile family heirloom. For many of us, the denim we live in becomes an inextricable part of our