Glowing mushrooms – an extraordinary and beautiful phenomenon that you need to see

Glowing mushrooms

A walk through the forest at dusk can certainly be interesting and if you find enough time, and the weather is right, you may be in for a “special” treat. You may see a little light in the distance, and as in the fairytale, your heart will jump of joy, right? The light doesn’t always has to be the product of fireflies, but mushrooms. Yes, even mushrooms are capable of producing light.

What creates the glow?

How come some mushrooms can glow? There are two substances in bioluminescent organisms that are responsible for luminescence. They are called luciferin and luciferase. Thanks to oxygen, luciferin oxidizes and turns into oxyluciferin. The luciferin molecule gets “excited” and starts emitting light. Luciferase acts as a catalyst. Bioluminescent organisms are able to produce luciferin alone, or they get it from food.

Glowing mushrooms
Photo: Pixabay

Glowing honey fungus (Armillaria mellea)

In our corner of the world we have the so called honey mushroom which can glow. Its fibres produce a greenish light through enzymes, which is a similar light emitted by fireflies, for example. But there are also many other mushrooms that can glow.

Glowing mushrooms

Photo: Pixabay

Aristotle was one of the first people who noticed this phenomena

Already in the ancient times people were aware of the ability of organisms to glow or produce light. The famous philosopher Aristotle was the first to ask the question what actually causes organisms to glow. We shall also mention that out of the total number of more than 100,000 species, approximately 71 can produce light.

Mushrooms probably glow in order to attract nocturnal insects

Scientists have studied an interesting Brazilian species of mushroom called Neonothopanus gardneri. The production of light is usually triggered by something. Organisms do not light up just because they feel like it. Nothing happens in nature just for the hell of it. Scientists confirm that mushrooms attract nocturnal insects this way. This helps mushroom to spread fungal spores and reproduce.

Preview photo: Pixabay

Radek Štěpán

Gardening is my hobby, I have a lot of experience and I am happy to share it.


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