14 gorgeous mushrooms that show fungi's glamorous side

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1. Mushrooms are all too often relegated to the realm of dark and funky fungi, when in fact many are worthy of super-swooning.

The mushroom has kind of gotten a bad rap. While sweet-smelling flowers fill sunny meadows and are attended to by bees and butterflies, mushrooms inhabit the dark dank corners and are often burdened with sinister connotations. And ok, maybe they thrive on rot ... and can be a bit slimy ... and malodorous ... and really quite lethal, but they have an essential role to play in the environment and many species outshine flowers in terms of odd beauty. So with that in mind, consider this a love letter from the fungus appreciation society, in which we show the gorgeous side of mushrooms.

1. A member of the genus Hericium

Above is a Hericium from the Hericiaceae family. Members of genus grow on dead or dying wood and have some of the most flamboyant fruiting bodies around! Boasting common names such as monkey's head, lion's mane, and bear's head, they look like anything from a fountain of falling icicles to frozen fireworks to sea creatures.

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