Fungus Humongous

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Copper fungushumongous.png
"Don't look now, but there's a humongous fungus among us!"

Sometimes in fantasy works there are mushrooms that are larger than average. While some actual mushrooms have been known to grow as large as soccer balls, in fiction mushrooms can grow to be as large as people, or even trees, leading to whole forests of nothing but mushrooms. Sometimes they are merely supposed to be an unusual flora used to convey the alien nature of the place, when unreal or differently sized trees, grass, and the like just wouldn't seem alien enough. Other times they are supposed to show corruption, an evil blight that is spreading across the land.

Does not apply to tiny people living in regular mushrooms, since in those instances it is the people that are unusual, not the mushrooms. Also does not apply to mushroom clouds, which are just mushroom shaped. Nor does it apply to sentient fungi, since they are not necessarily part of the scenery, unless they are so humongous that they dominate the scene. See Mushroom Man for that sort of thing. Of course, if they live in giant mushrooms, that is another matter. However, it may cross over with Springy Spores if it's in a video game level.

Named after the fun wordplay "A fungus among us" that pops up in many different forms of media, including an album by Incubus.

This is usually considered a Plant Trope, even though fungi are not, you know, plants.

Examples of Fungus Humongous include:


Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • Nausicaa of the Valley of the Wind, Nausicaa's home planet is overrun by massive fungus. In the manga, it's shown that one type of fungus can grow to a height of 30 meters in seconds.
  • In volume four of the Moyashimon manga, the legion of A. oryzae mold spores (which Sawaki can see and speak to) that have taken up residence in his dorm room bother him while he's reading a manga... and then combine into a giant oryzae and sit on him when he won't pay attention to them. Sawaki also sees large concentrations of other microorganisms as room-sized miasma blobs with big grinning faces.
  • In Naruto: Kakashi Gaiden includes a forest with very large trees with mushrooms so large you can stand on them.
  • Urusei Yatsura. At the end of his competition with Lum, Ataru pursues her in an area where giant (building-high) mushrooms have burst out of the ground.


Card Games[edit | hide]

  • Not really an example of scenery, but the card game Munchkin has a literal Fungus Humongous in the form of a level 5 creature Fungus, which can be combined with the enhancement "Humongous" to produce a level 30 Humongous Fungus, making it more powerful than a Plutonium Dragon. Do not truffle with the Humongous Fungus.
    • With the right cards, you can have an entire extended family grouping of mushrooms eat your character.
  • Magic: The Gathering has a card called Fungusaur. It's a 2 power, 2 toughness creature that gets a +1/+1 counter (permanent power and toughness boost) whenever it takes damage and is not killed, making this sort of a Fungus Humongous.
    • Don't forget the Thallids, humanoid fungi that can make creature tokens really fast.
    • And also don't forget Fungus Slivers, which make all Slivers have the same ability as the Fungusaur.
    • Neither should you forget about the Mycoloth, a giant fungus monster from Jund. It comes out as a 4-power/4-toughness creature that has devour 2 (i.e. you can sacrifice as many creatures as you want up to how many you control when it comes into play and put two +1/+1 counters on it for each one that you do). It then proceeds to make a 1/1 creature token at the beginning of each of your upkeep phases for each counter on it. With the right cards, you can also give it more +1/+1 counters each turn, turn it into a Fungusaur, make the creature tokens it generates have power and toughness equal to how many of them are in play...
  • Magi Nation, the entirety of the Underneath is covered in mushrooms, and most of the dream creatures in the area resemble them tremendously. Giant Korrits, Brubs, Vulbors, you name it, it's a mushroom. They make houses out of the things, too. Ormagon, possibly the most powerful dream creature in the game, is a colossal, ambulatory mushroom that completely decimated all of civilization in The Underneath in no time at all.


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Films -- Animated[edit | hide]

  • A giant mushroom appears in Disney's Alice in Wonderland. One half of the mushroom made Alice huge, while the other made her tiny.


Films -- Live-Action[edit | hide]

  • The live action adaptation of Super Mario Bros. has a giant fungal growth covering the whole city that turns out to be the king, subject to a Baleful Polymorph.
  • During the "Order 66" bit in Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith, one of the Jedi to die is on Felucia at the time. Something of a subversion in that most of the fungi on Felucia looks nothing like Earth fungi.
    • Indeed. Most people immediately after the film referred to the planet as "Doctor Seuss Mushroom World". That's how strange Felucia looks.
  • Dreamcatcher the film of the book by Stephen King has a race of parasitic aliens whose biology and spaceships are based on fungus—like those fungal parasites that eat ants from the inside out. This allows them to blow up their ship like a puffball if attacked.


Literature[edit | hide]

  • In A Journey to the Center of the Earth by Jules Verne, the main characters find giant petrified mushrooms in a huge underground cave.
  • Alan Dean Foster's Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Splinter of the Minds Eye. Luke and Princess Leia crossed a lake using the caps of giant mushrooms as kayaks.
  • Massive fungi (I don't recall them being specifically mushroom-like, though) show up in H. G. Wells's The First Men In The Moon. Eating them induces euphoria and intoxication.
  • Eleanor Cameron's Mushroom Planet series.
  • Zack Parsons's serial story Instructions For A is worth reading without spoilers. However I'll say that it's a frightening take on what our lives would be like if there were a Cordyceps fungi species that could infest every living thing on the planet.
  • In The Forgotten Planet, Murray Leinster carefully justifies this by giving the planet patterns of weather that make photosynthetic life forms non-viable, allowing saprophytes to fill the niches occupied by trees, grasses, etc.
  • These things spouted from the ground around the city of Ambergris sometimes in mere hours in Jeff VanderMeer's City of Saints and Madmen: The Hoegbotton Guide to the Early History of Ambergris, as foreshadowing to the mysterious incident known as the Silence where two thirds of the city's population mysteriously vanished overnight without a trace, along with all the mushrooms.
    • In the sequel novel Finch the city is overtaken by the Graycaps, and their giant mushrooms grow to the size of buildings, and periodically spew out spores that are delicious and nutritious, but also contain extremely addictive drugs, and are used for population control.
  • The Tunnels series has a massive fungus that grows inside the Pore. Its shelf-like protrusions can provide a soft landing for some of those unfortunate enough to fall in.
  • Piers Anthony's Omnivore is set on a planet where animals never arose, but some fungi did evolve mobility. In addition to plenty of oversized stationary fungal species, there's an omnivorous mobile type the size of a minibus. (Also sentient mobile carnivorous ones, but that's a different trope.)
  • In the second of Elizabeth Bear's 'Jacob's Ladder' books (Chill) there are several levels inside the Generation Ship where massive insects and fungus have developed in humid darkness resulting from wonky life support- two characters make camp on a shelf the size of a mattress.


Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • An episode of The X-Files featured a Monster of the Week which was a giant underground fungal complex (see Real Life below); the nonsentient growth sucked down its human victims and dosed them with powerful hallucinogens to keep them docile while it slowly digested them.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • Dungeons & Dragons
    • A plane known as the Beastlands has groves of giant mushrooms.
    • Several of Gary Gygax's early modules had giant mushrooms and other fungi, including D3 Vault of the Drow, EX1 Dungeonland and T1-4 The Temple of Elemental Evil.
    • Mayfair Games' AD&D-compatible adventure Swordthrust had an indoor garden with mushrooms up to 20 feet high.
    • Module FRQ2 Hordes of Dragonspear had a cave with a forest of giant mushrooms.
    • Dragon magazine #32 module "Fell Pass". Several rooms have giant fungi: in one they're up to 15 feet tall.
    • Basic D&D module X8 Drums on Fire Mountain had a volcanic cavern with a fungus forest, some of which were the size of a small tree.
    • There's a layer of the Abyss devoted to fungi. The capital city is carved out of miles-high mushrooms.
    • Slave Lords modules A1-A4
      • Module A3 Assault on the Aerie of the Slave Lords. The PCs will encounter an underground lake. Nearby is a forest of large (6–7 feet tall) mushrooms which give off an eerie luminescence.
      • Module A4 In the Dungeons of the Slave Lords. The Mushroom Garden is filled with mushrooms up to 9 feet tall and have trunks as thick as a tree. The Fungus Forest is filled with giant mushrooms and toadstools and huge puffball fungi.
  • Chaosium's Trollpak supplement for RuneQuest. The Sporewood is an underground Mushroom Wood with a variety of immense fungi, including toadstools.
  • Call of Cthulhu (tabletop game)
    • Supplement Terror from the Stars, adventure "The Temple of the Moon". The Fungi from Yuggoth have a giant cave complex beneath the mountains of Peru filled with a disgusting array of giant fungi imported from their home planet.
    • Supplement Dreamlands boxed set, booklet "The Dreamlands". In the Dreamlands there's a fungus forest atop a great cliff at the southern edge of the Peaks of Thok in the Underworld. It contains obscene giant fungi.
  • Dying Earth RPG supplement Demons of the Dying Earth. The demonic subworld of Gnarre is made up of underground tunnels and caves with huge mushrooms and toadstools that are farmed for food.
  • Some members of the Nosferatu clan in Vampire: The Masquerade have been known to keep gardens of mushrooms, some of which can grow to the size of trees. These can be grown for aethetic purposes, or for defending their havens.
  • Role Master Shadow World supplement Sky Giants of the Brass Stair. In the Brass Stair's underground caverns, the Hall of the Forest Wyrm has fungi and mushrooms more than 8 feet high.


Videogames[edit | hide]

  • The Elder Scrolls 3: Morrowind has giant mushrooms scattered across the island of Vvardenfell, a lot of times in lieu of actual trees. House Telvanni has most of it's buildings in giant mushrooms and other giant plants.
    • The Shivering Isles expansion to The Elder Scrolls 4: Oblivion likewise features giant mushrooms.
    • The Elder Scrolls 5: Skyrim is mostly mushroom-free, with one very notable exception—the massive cavern called Blackreach, which contains huge glowing mushrooms along with veins of Soul Gems and ancient Dwarven ruins.
  • In the Warcraft series we first see giant mushrooms in Warcraft II: Beyond the Dark Portal on Draenor, the native world of the orcs, and these mushrooms provided the same lumber as trees. Warcraft III and WoW added other places with giant mushrooms growing there - such as some dungeons and the Plaguelands. Strangely, in WoW's Outland - the place that remained of Draenor after its destruction - the only place where giant mushrooms grow is Zangarmarsh.
  • Diablo has a quest line where the player must retrieve a larger-than-average black mushroom. The blacksmith, Griswold, exaggerates its size by calling it "A huge, gargantuan, swollen, bloated mushroom". It wasn't so big. Quest: The Black Mushroom
  • Tales of the Abyss has a hidden area known as Mushroom Road that is covered with giant mushrooms.
  • Sonic 3 and Knuckles, Mushroom Hill Zone, which contains mushrooms that can be bounced on and used as gliders.

Knuckles: There are large jungle mushrooms on my island, too... but not this huge.

  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • In general, the various games in the franchise have had levels with huge mushrooms that could be used as platforms in a number of games. Some of them even help Mario and Luigi hop at great heights.
    • Mario Kart Wii has mushrooms big enough to drive a car on the caps.
  • Metroid:
    • Phazon Mines in the first Metroid Prime has mushrooms that have become irradiated by Phazon and grown unusually large.
    • Brinstar of Super Metroid also has large mushrooms.
    • According to the developers the orange, bulbous, spiky growths on Bryyo in Metroid Prime 3 are mushrooms.
  • The fungus world in Space Quest V has no apparent bottom, just giant fungus.
  • Cave Story has a number of malicious mushrooms infesting the Mimiga graveyard. Some of them are larger than humans.
  • Katamari Damacy has mushrooms of many different sizes that can be rolled up. This makes sense.
  • Myst Uru: Ages Beyond Myst has the age Teledahn, an Age written as a gift for the guildmaster of the Guild of Caterers. The spores of the mushrooms are harvested to make bread... and a lot of the harvesting machinery is built into the mushrooms.
  • Space Harrier: In Stages 3 (Amar) & 10 (Minia), giant psychedelic mushrooms fly at you at great speed.
  • The text adventure Trinity had a land of giant mushrooms, each representing one atomic / nuclear explosion.
  • The Felucia levels of Star Wars: The Force Unleashed and Star Wars: Battlefront 2 (and probably a metric shitload of other Star Wars game released around or after the prequel trilogy which likely as well feature the world of Felucia in some manner or another).
  • Dwarf Fortress has subterranean forests with "trees" like tower-caps and fungiwood, that are so large that they function as a source of lumber. An honorable mention also goes to the Plump Helmet, your staple food crop; by implication they could be anything up to the size of a television set.
  • Donkey Kong 64: Fungi Forest.
  • The Echovale Forest in Guild Wars Factions features giant petrified mushrooms that are more than ornamental- they emit spores that afflict you with the annoying 'Stone Spores' condition.
  • Final Fantasy X had Mushroom Rock Road, but the cliffs just resembled large mushrooms. Halfway there, at any rate.
  • Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles had a dungeon called the Mushroom Forest, with giant mushrooms taking the place of trees.
  • In The Secret of Monkey Island, the area known as "The Caverns of Meat" had mushrooms that were slightly shorter than a person, and really wide.
  • Little Nemo the Dream Master had giant mushrooms in the first level. As mentioned above, they also appear in the source material.
  • The dominant form of native life in Sid Meier's Alpha Centauri is the enormous mass of Xenofungus, including an aquatic variety, which is incovenient rather than deadly (until you've researched the appropriate technologies). The same cannot be said, however, for the mind worms that lurk in the fungus...
    • Harmless fungus? Except during the twenty year cycle of the secondary star periastron, in which case fungal growth is so violent it will blow up mines, farms, solar panels, and tube trains. With a big boom and a fireball. So... Mostly Harmless.
  • Gears Of War 2 has mushrooms that are slightly shorter than Fenix, and some giant puffballs that might be fungi.
  • One of the levels of PS 1 game Future Cop LAPD featured a part where you had to move across gigantic mushrooms growing in the sewers you were in to avoid getting damaged by what was probably corrosive fog covering the floor.
  • Illusion of Gaia had a level consisting of huge mushrooms connected by big green vines. Because everything looked pretty much the same, it was something of a Scrappy Level.
  • In the classic MMO EverQuest's expansion "Shadows of Luclin" you were on the moon. The moon's 'darkside' was literally that - it never got light. There were groves of mushrooms and even a giant mushroom rainforest.
  • Lineage 2 has giant mushrooms in various areas of the world, some man-sized, others are big as buildings. In particular is the Sea of Spores, which in addition to being inhabited by giant fungi of many varieties (including ones that attack you), is filled in every direction by a literal fog (or snow) of spores from them. It is so bad that there is a giant domed forcefield to keep the damned thing from spreading. One wonders how the little dragons breath or the stone golems don't get broken apart by fungus growing all over them. However, aside from this being a fairly good place for low 40's to grind and being part of a class change quest, this area is almost entirely ignored. That is, if you don't count Orfen, the fifty foot six-armed spider queen that hides in there.
  • The deadliest peril in Repton 3 is the rapidly growing fungus. Unless you block it off, it can cover entire levels.
  • One serves as a Warmup Boss in Wonder Boy in Monster World.
  • Phantasy Star Universe: Ambition of the Illuminus introduces Habirao Forbidden District on the Wutai Planet of Neudaiz, a place where mushrooms have grown massive due to a reaction from photonic energies there.
  • Star Trek Online: Some of the randomly generated planetary surfaces are basically giant mushrooms.
  • Giant mushrooms are a common environmental feature in the Rayman series, particularly the Canopy level in Rayman 2.
  • Tass Times in Tonetown, an early Activision game had these in a few sections of the forest maze. Linger too long and the spores could suffocate you. Of course, if you take a hunk of it, it's used to solve a puzzle later. You can also eat it. If you do, the game tells you that you Timothy Leary walks in, laughs at you, and disappears.
  • In Okami, an early dungeon has some teeny tiny mushrooms. They grow huge enough to jump on when exposed to sunlight.
  • The Legend of Zelda Skyward Sword features mushrooms that are the same size as Link. If you cut them with your sword, they regenerate in seconds. You can also get a makeshift potion substitute from them.
  • American McGee's Alice & its sequel Alice: Madness Returns. Including giant flesh-eating mushrooms.
  • Runes of Magic, located just outside the Elf starter town & in a cave in the Human starter village.
  • Whisper of a Rose, in the dream world.
  • Aveyond, in a specificly Wonderland themed bit of land.
  • The Infocom text game Trinity has giant mushrooms that take you to nuclear bomb detonations.
  • Septerra Core. Shell 7's Mold Forest, although the game doesn't say whether or not these are actual fungi or oversized plants convergently evolved to look exactly like giant fungi.
  • Minecraft has a mushroom biome, complete with giant mushrooms, ground made of mycelium, and "mooshroom" cows. The player can grow their own giant mushrooms, too.
  • Terraria features an underground forest biome complete with tree-like mushrooms which can be harvested.
  • Pokémon has Foongus and Amoongus
  • Solatorobo has Visla, a continent full of humongous fungus and Big Creepy-Crawlies.


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • As shown in the picture above, in the webcomic Copper, Copper and Fred cross over a forest of tall mushrooms while pondering the nature of achievement.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Ben 10 once had a giant fungus forest. Like everything else in the series, it turned out to be a hostile alien.
  • In the My Little Pony cartoon, there is the Mushromp, a forest dotted with large mushrooms that is the home of the Moochick.
  • Tintin encountered huge mushrooms in The Shooting Star (L'?oile myst?euse), which promptly explode, just like in the comic version mentioned above.
  • Superfriends (1973–74) episode "The Mysterious Moles". While exploring underground, Wendy, Marvin and Wonder Dog encounter a stream with giant mushrooms growing along the banks.


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • The largest known living organism on Earth is a 2,400-year-old (we think) Armillaria fungus in the Malheur National Forest in Oregon, USA. It covers an estimated area of 890 hectares (2,200 acres). Most of it is the underground mycelium, all you'll see above ground are the small honey mushrooms that sprout in autumn.
    • We have a smaller Armillaria here in Michigan, USA. It's over 30 acres, located in Mastodon Township. The nearby city of Crystal Falls has a Humongous Fungus Fest every year.
  • Prototaxites, a type of mushroom that lived lived about 420 to 350 million years ago, were often over 20 feet tall.
  • This is not a 'shop [dead link].