Glow in the Dark Mushrooms

My fungi adventure is rolling on. As we walked through the bush on the dreaming track towards Grey Rocks yesterday I kept my eyes peeled for fungi. A big old banksia growing on the edge of the sanddunes had collapsed, and fungi was busy dismantling the dead timber. Fungi are essential to life on earth, one of their roles is break down organic material into its constituents  such as compounds, molecules and atoms! I found this wonderful array of mushrooms, and climbed down to photograph them.

ghost mushrooms bingie nsw

ghost mushrooms bingie nsw

My partner knew at once that they were ones that glow in the dark. Long ago we first saw them at a National Parks campsite near the Victorian border. At night there were no lights, so when you looked out past the campfire you could see a ghostly glow in different areas of the bushland. Very spooky! This type of bioluminescence is known as Foxfire, and is thought to be produced by the fungi to attract insects. We see them around us here quite regularly, a fun thing to see if you walk down to the beach at night.

Omphalatus nidiformis

Omphalotus nidiformis

Another theory about the glow is to warn that they are poisonous. This one was lit by the sun, the younger one behind still has a convex cap, while the mature fruit has a deeply funnelled shape.

mature Omphalatus nidiformis

mature Omphalotus nidiformis

The funnels held little pools of rain water. This is how they appear at night, photo courtesy of the Australian Museum. I hope you enjoyed seeing my new mushroom find!

Omphalotus nidiformis in the dark

36 thoughts on “Glow in the Dark Mushrooms

    • not hard to find either bluebee, there would be some near you somewhere in the bushland … i think … they could be quite a feature in the night garden!

  1. Your fungi escapades are yeilding great data already – for me anyway! I always notice the fungi doing their job, but have never enquired further into them, nor heard or seen anything as wondrous as your Omphalatus nidiformis, glowing in the dark. Avatar eat your heart out!

    • mmm, i am having fun, but maybe all the measuring and study is not for me … i will see how i go on my next fungi walk this week, there are certainly lots of interesting things around us here 🙂

  2. The shapes of these mushrooms are beautiful. I didn’t know they glow in the dark either. I am enjoying and learning many things from your posts. Thank You!


    • S tells me were fascinated with them when we first saw them when camping, very ghostly! now it is normal to see the delicate glow in the dark if we are out walking … but that is not often …

    • oh scary! perhaps look out for these kinds of clusters, in dead timber, then if you think it could be the ghost mushrooms you could go back after dark …

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