The flickering of the fireflies at dusk quickly becomes a fond memory as Autumn is ushered in by the crisp night air. Other summertime bioluminescent wonders are not chased away as quickly by this seasonal change and remain through November. This has allowed me to finally document something that I have only read about up until now – bioluminescent mushrooms.
Bioluminescence is the capability of a living organism to produce light, which in the case of some mushrooms, may contribute to the spreading of spores as they hitch a ride on the curious insects that come to investigate the glow. In western Pennsylvania we have a number of species of bioluminescent mushrooms. Sometimes referred to as foxfire, this glow has been personally witnessed and documented with the following two species – Omphalotus illudens and Panellus Stipticus.
The Jack O’Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus illudens)
The Jack O’Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus illudens) is a bright orange mushroom that grows in clusters at the bases of hardwoods and conifers beginning later in the summer and continuing long into the fall months. When I have talked about this mushroom in the past, I have discussed its supposed “bio-luminescent” characteristic. After several unsuccessful attempts to experience this first hand, I began to believe the skeptics and agree that this was just a well crafted campfire story – until tonight.
Here is another example of the bio-luminescent Jack O’Lantern Mushroom taken by Jared White
The “Panellus Stipticus” Mushroom
I have photographed this mushroom in the past and quickly put it into the boring mushroom category until recently when I read about its “glowing personality.” I had to give it a second chance.
Visit http://adventuresinmushrooming.blogspot.com/ for more examples of these two bio-luminescent mushrooms.