Do you know that there are bioluminescent fungi that glow in darks? Yes, there are! Definitely, you might say “oh! my god”. They will amaze you, yes sure! Let’s see what are those amazing products of mother nature.

Fungi play a major role in the identification of plant species that are in forests and act as a source of mystery in forests. Recently scientists have done some experiments on these bioluminescent mushrooms and they have found mind-blowing facts about those bioluminescent fungi. According to the investigations, there are over 80 species of bioluminescent mushrooms on earth.

There’s a compound called Oxyluciferin which gives luminescent color to the mushrooms in dark. This compound is a product formed by paring an enzyme with Oxygen. When discussing luminescent definitely you’ll get fireflies into your mind. Yes, of course, Oxyluciferin is the same compound that is in them.

According to scientists although bioluminescent mushrooms show their color in dark, they can be found easily in the daytime. In 2015 a major research was done to identify why these bioluminescent mushrooms glow in dark. Finally, scientists found by glowing in dark, attract insects to the mushroom and it helps to spread their spores in an effective way. In this way, they can reproduce and colonize new areas of the forest. On the other hand, scientists found that not all bioluminescent mushrooms attract more insects than other mushrooms.

Let’s go on a tour in the world of bioluminescent fungi,


1) Panellus stipticus

An attractive mushroom that has distinct cross veins and a very short tapering stem. When considering the distribution they spread in Britain, Ireland, northern and central parts of mainland Europe, Australia, New Zealand and North America.

Photo by Wikimedia Commons

2) Panellus pusillus

The fruit body consists of a small-cap, more or less fan-shaped, with a lateral stem that attaches it to the wood. The underside of the cap is made out of pores. The fruit has a leathery texture and it is whitish.

Panellus pusillus
Photo by Alison Harrington / Flickr

3) Armillaria mellea (Honey Fungus)

There are many forms of Honey Fungus. This fungus acts as a parasitic fungus and causes damages to both conifers and broad-leaf trees. This fungus is common in Britain, Ireland and mainland Europe.

Photo by Dan Molter at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images / Wikimedia Commons


4) Armillaria gallica (Bulbous Honey Fungus)

There are many forms of Bulbous Honey Fungus. It has a bulbous or swollen base and this is a little smaller and darker when comparing with Armillaria gallica. When considering the distribution of this fungi, it can be found in Britain, Ireland, most parts of central and southern mainland Europe, North Africa, Parts of Asia and North America

Photo by Dan Molter at Mushroom Observer, a source for mycological images / Wikimedia Commons

5) Mycena chlorophos

This is a saprotrophic fungus that grows in decaying woods. This fungus is currently in threat because of the reduction of habitats. Rainforests are their favorite. This grows in Pacific, Southeast Asia and Brazil geographical areas.

Photo by Craig Robbins

6) Mycena luxaeterna

This also belongs to the family Mycenaceae. It is a darkly grayish-brown mushroom with parachute-shaped caps. These grow up to 2 cm in diameter. Its habitat is very limited to an area of the Atlantic Rainforest of Sao Paulo.

Photo by Cassius V. Stevani, IQ-USP, Brazil – PETAR, Iporanga, SP, Brazil, CC BY 3.0,


7) Mycena haematopus

This fungus is also known as the “bleeding fairy helmet”. It is also growing on rotting logs. This fungus can reach up to 4 cm in diameter. This mushroom got this name because its cap color differs a range from pale red to wine red. Can be found in Europe, North America, Japan and Venezuela.

Photo by Alan Rockefeller – Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0,

8) Omphalotus illudens

This is a comparatively large mushroom. It grows mostly in eastern North America. The glow of this mushroom can be last up to 50 hours according to some researchers. They are believing that this happens to attract insects in the dark.

Photo by Michael Kuo

9) Omphalotus olearius

This is a bit dangerous. This mushroom is poisonous. It is orange in color and has bioluminescent properties. Commonly grown in Europe. This is highly poisonous to humans. Also known as “jack-o’-lantern mushroom”.

Photo by B. Assyov

However, there are a low amount of details about bioluminescent mushrooms and we should investigate further and collect more and more data about this beautiful donation of mother earth. Have you found and bioluminescent mushrooms? Share your experiences with the community. Yes, the comment section is yours.


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