Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Awesome Fungi: Glowing Mycena!

Each week, Awesome Fungi puts the spotlight on a mushroom species that is simply awesome. This week we take a look at a species of Mycena:

National Geographic recently featured an article that introduced these glowing beauties which were recently discovered in Brazil. According to NG, this species of Mycena has developed bio biluminescent properties. Visit the link to read the article about this interesting and fungus.
Note: clicking on the pictures in the left-hand column of the article reveals more of the article.

Incidentally, another mushroom in the "glowing awesomeness" category is the "Jack O' Lantern" mushroom (Omphalotus illudens). They are called this because, when full grown, they resemble a large group of pumpkins. What makes these mushrooms particularly interesting is that, under perfect conditions - a dreary, rainy, and dark day - these mushrooms will give off a faint green light from their gills, which is due to the fact that these mushrooms contain small amounts of the same chemical(luciferase) that fireflies have in their tails.

However, if you find some and simply must see this interesting effect, you can try to recreate it on your own. Pick one(they are most commonly found on rotting stumps in early/mid fall, around Halloween, coincidentally), mist it lightly with water, and take it into a pitch-black room for about 5-15 minutes(or long enough for your eyes to adjust to darkness). Although the mushroom will give off a very faint glow, remember that nature does a much better job at this.

Do you know of any other mushrooms that fall under the "glowing awesomeness" category?

No comments: