No, it’s not Halloween yet, but a special variety of bright orange mushrooms has some mushroom enthusiasts glowing with excitement.
Jack-o’-lantern mushrooms have been found in Windsor-Essex, Ontario. a region in the fall. These mushrooms differ from others because of one very interesting feature:
“They bioluminescence — they glow in the dark,” says Robert Wright, a self-described mushroom enthusiast and all-around fungi hunter.
Orange mushrooms are found all over North America, but Wright says he found the mushrooms the way he was in the Devonshire Preserve. Wright said they are a common sight around Windsor-Essex.
Wright said he found the jack-o’-lantern mushrooms by accident while looking for something else.
“I’m looking for a bunch of wild mushrooms that can be bright orange as well and that have some of the same growing areas as jack-o’-lantern mushrooms,” he said.
“I saw a little bit of orange, backed up a little bit and saw more orange and thought, ‘Wow, I saw a load of chickens of the wild.’
Upon closer inspection, Wright found jack-o’-lantern mushrooms instead.
There is a variety of mushrooms in parts of Michigan as well, said Denis Vidmar, owner of Mush Hub, a mushroom broker. But he warned those who wanted to eat him.
“Sadly, they are inedible,” Vidmar said. “[They’re] It’s toxic and can really turn your stomach.”
Vidmar says the jack-o’-lantern can be mistaken for another type of mushroom.
“A lot of people will make the mistake of going hunting for chanterelle mushrooms,” he says.
As for why jack-o’-lantern mushrooms glow in the dark, Wright says there are several theories, but he has one of his own.
“The insects will then get spores all over them because the fungus, this particular fungus, grows from the gills,” Wright said. “I don’t know if that’s true or not, but I’ll leave that to the experts.”
Wright said he had to be patient to get pictures that showed the bioluminescence of the mushrooms.
“Since there was one there, I thought, ‘I’m going to take it home and I’m going to do some testing,'” Wright said. “I set it up in the basement in the dark. I put it on a piece of tinfoil so that any light coming from it would be clear. I then set the time exposure for 9 minutes. When I turned on the camera. go back and pick it up on the computer, there’s a picture there.”