Mushroom lovers have a reason to rejoice today. National Mushroom Day is observed on Oct. 15 every year to celebrate these fleshy bodies of fungi.

There are over 50,000 different mushroom species. With the wide variety of fungi, some add the unique umami flavor to many dishes while others provide Earth-friendly materials for future fashion.

People can celebrate National Mushroom Day by indulging in their favorite mushroom dish or perhaps trying new mushroom recipes they haven't had before. For instance, those who are craving a burger can switch it up today and instead try a portobello mushroom burger.

Others may also observe the day by looking into mushrooms, so they can be more familiar with the fungi on their next hiking trip and perhaps be more knowledgeable about which ones are edible and which ones aren't.

On this day, let's celebrate mushrooms by looking at some interesting facts about the fungi. (Courtesy: The Mushroom Council, National Today, Kidadl and Backcountry Survival)

  1. There is a mushroom that tastes like chicken. Called the Laetiporus mushroom or the "Chicken of the Woods," it grows in the wild and has been described to taste "exactly" like fried chicken.
  2. Genetically, mushrooms are more closely related to humans than to plants. Moreover, like humans, they breathe in oxygen and exhale carbon dioxide.
  3. Mushrooms are grown in all 50 states and are actually among the most sustainably produced food sources in the U.S. This, for instance, is because they require only a limited space to grow and need less water than other crops.
  4. There are some mushroom species that can glow in the dark.
  5. Mushrooms' growth cycle is different from that of vegetables. They start out as fungal spores, which then germinate into a root network called mycelium. The mushroom is produced when the mycelium has matured.
  6. White mushrooms, portobello and button mushrooms are among the most popular mushrooms. They are actually just the same species but are harvested at different times in the growth cycle.
  7. The deadly death cap mushroom is among the most poisonous mushrooms on the planet.
  8. Researchers have been looking into psilocybin, a chemical compound in some types of mushrooms, as a possible treatment for psychological conditions such as depression.

Mushroom Representation Photo: barbroforsberg - Pixabay