Lobster mushrooms are a fascinating departure from what we typically consider mushrooms. They have a color similar to cooked lobster meat or lobster shell.
This “species” is actually an example of a mold attacking a mushroom. The mold parasitizes Russula brevipes and covers the entire fruiting body with an orange skin.
Eventually, the fungus even begins to transform the shape of the host mushroom, twisting it into odd contortions. Here’s what an unparasitized Russula brevipes (apparently this species has no common name) looks like.
The idea of eating a fungus infected by a mold may sound pretty gross, but Lobster Mushrooms are considered “gourmet food.”
The presence of the parasite dramatically increases the flavor of its host. The taste of a Lobster Mushroom is said to resemble that of an actual lobster. Who knew?