While psychedelic enthusiasts have boasted about the magic abilities of mushrooms for decades, the fungi’s ability to actually communicate with each other was never one of the superpowers mentioned.
But, a recent study conducted by Andrew Adamatzky– a professor at the University of the West of England– has found that mushrooms are exceptionally chatty. In fact, Adamatzky revealed that mushrooms have their own distinct vocabulary of up to fifty words.
Mushrooms typically grow from the same mycelium- or a network of white filaments that are similar to the roots of trees or the neurons in human bodies.
In turn, any electrical impulse sent by one mushroom will travel throughout the network and reach other mushrooms that grow from the same mycelium.
And while this natural electrical network was already quite amazing, Adamatzky pushed our understanding of the mycelium one step further.
He inserted electrodes into the surface where four different species of fungi grew– split gill, enoki, ghost, and caterpillar– in order to assess the various electrical outputs. And what he heard was astonishing.
“Assuming that spikes of electrical activity are used by fungi to communicate, we demonstrate that distributions of fungal word lengths match that of human beings,” Adamantzky began.
“We found that the size of fungal vocabulary can be up to fifty words. However, the core vocabulary of most frequently used words does not exceed fifteen to twenty.”
Additionally, he discovered that fungi communication spikes when mushrooms come into contact with potential threats or food sources. This was first observed among the split gill species, which survive by eating wood.