Giant puffball sprouts in Hougang

The recent heavy rain has brought an unusual sight to Hougang - a giant brain-like mushroom as wide as a person's face.

Nurse Lau Wing Lup, 30, found the mushroom while walking past a grass patch in a Buangkok View housing estate on Thursday afternoon.

He initially thought the beige-coloured mushroom was a loaf of bread, Lianhe Wanbao reported yesterday.

But as he got closer, he realised it was a mushroom that was larger than his palm and about as wide as his face.

"It had grooves and ridges so it also looked like a human brain," Mr Lau told My Paper. He saw a similar mushroom two years ago at a similar spot but the one had not been as large.

Mycology expert Tan Teck Koon said in a report two years ago that the mushroom Mr Lau found was a giant puffball.

While a common sight after it rains, the size of giant puffballs can vary greatly. The smallest are about the size of a 5-cent coin but they can grow as large as a football, said Associate Professor Tan, a mycologist at the National University of Singapore's Department of Biological Sciences.

He said the mushrooms can grow very quickly, a day after it rains. But "unlike other mushrooms, giant puffballs are quite 'tough' and may be around for a few days", he told My Paper yesterday.

"They usually grow in grassy areas and are likely to appear where they have appeared before, if the environmental conditions are suitable for them to form these large and visible fruiting bodies," he added.

But since there is insufficient research on the mushrooms here, it is unclear if they are poisonous, he said. So it is best not to eat them.

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