While spending his August holiday exploring the forests around Mount Voio, located in the Western Macedonian region of Kastoria, Michalis Lalos came across a mushroom unlike any found in the supermarket. The gargantuan fungus weighed 8.15 kg (nearly 18 lbs).
The region is well known for its variety of mushroom species, yet few are quite so large. According to Newsbeast.gr, Lalos stated that he had never come across this specific species, which is called “popordo” locally, before. The species is uncommon in the region, and one of such size is very rare. When Lalos brought his find back to the village, it became the center of attention, drawing in passers-by amazed at the mushroom’s size.
The “popordo,” scientific name Calvatia gigantea, can be found around the world in temperate zones. Another giant mushroom of this species, weighing 11 kg (over 24 lbs) was found in Grevena, also located in Western Macedonia, in October 2019.
Greece is home to over 2,000 species of mushrooms, while only about 150 are safe to eat. This rich variety of fungi, including many rare species, has made Greece a popular destination for mushroom collecting. There are even tours available that guide mushroom collectors searching for gourmet specimens through Greece’s forests. Residents of Western Macedonia, the region where the giant mushroom was found, are known to be quite proficient mushroom harvesters.