Most edible mushrooms are fairly small. But in West Africa as well as Zambia, there’s one particularly magical mushroom: Termitomyces titanicus. In Zambia, where mushroom-gathering is a part of life, the titanicus is especially beloved. While the largest organism in the world is a fungus currently consuming Oregon, Termitomyces titanicus is the world’s largest edible mushroom, with the cap capable of measuring a little more than three feet across.
The Termitomyces name refers to how it grows inside a termite hill. Termitomyces mushrooms have a symbiotic relationship with the termites. The mushroom grows on the termite’s fecal matter and breaks down plant material as food for them. Termites also chomp away at decayed mushroom tissue. Most grow in the winter during the rains, which is prime mushroom season. The savory, smoky titanicus is considered to be particularly delicious, with a meaty texture. It can be found throughout Zambia, but grows particularly well among the diverse flora of the country’s miombo woodlands.
Where to Try It
Mutinondo Wilderness LodgeKalonje, Zambia
In the Mutinondo Wilderness, staff members can take guests on a mushroom-gathering expedition. But whether you're seeking out the mushrooms yourself or buying them, they only grow during the winter rainy season. This campground and lodge provides mushroom-seeking tours (guests are asked to show park staff any mushrooms they want to eat, just in case!)