Bio-luminescent Shrooms!
October 5, 2009 7:59 PM   Subscribe

Bio-luminescent Shrooms!

That is all.
posted by Burhanistan (23 comments total) 5 users marked this as a favorite
I think I saw this on a poster once.
posted by logicpunk at 8:03 PM on October 5, 2009 [4 favorites]

"What interests us is that within Mycena, the luminescent species come from 16 different lineages, which suggests that luminescence evolved at a single point and some species later lost the ability to glow," Desjardin said.

That is interesting to me as well. Perhaps, and I am totally talking out of my ass here, but the Earth was much darker once? Perhaps after the k2 event thingy when the atmosphere was cloudy as hell. Fascinating stuff. Thanks!
posted by lazaruslong at 8:11 PM on October 5, 2009

posted by Cool Papa Bell at 8:13 PM on October 5, 2009

That is, of course, assuming that bio-luminescence was a trait that was selected for as being advantageous at some point due to the environment and then lost that advantage later. Of course, it could always be another more local influence, but seeing as they were discovered at disparate locations, it seems more likely to be an environmental adaptation.
posted by lazaruslong at 8:13 PM on October 5, 2009

Here are some outside of Tokyo.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:14 PM on October 5, 2009

Next week: the embarrassing revelation that a failure to take proper precautions against contact highs by the researchers was responsible for the effect.
posted by phrontist at 8:19 PM on October 5, 2009

You keep your bioluminescent 'shrooms next to your effervescing elephants (safe keeping and all). These are not my 'shrooms, but they're really wiggytrippy. Luciferin-luciferase, my feet are sticky! Mmm. Thanks!
posted by heyho at 8:22 PM on October 5, 2009

I once caught some spider crabs, nice pups about a foot and a half across the legtips and when I got home I put them in the kitchen sink to rinse them before cooking and when the freshwater hit them they lit right up, all nice and pale green.
Never seen that before or since.
Large live glowing crustaceans in the kitchen is win.
posted by Iron Rat at 8:39 PM on October 5, 2009

Goddamnit, I've been telling people about these since 1999 (saw a variety of them in Malaysia). Pretty magical, I have to say, to encounter in a forest.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 8:48 PM on October 5, 2009 [1 favorite]

Man, I am not surprised to hear that they grow in Belize because I think I like had these and shit. I like went to Placencia with my friend Rastro (because he is part rasta despite being half english half german and half astro as in "out there," not like the dog from the Jetsons and he gets very mad if you suggest that) and Rastro went for a walk outside the Eco-Lodge. And when he came back he said "Dude, you have to see this" and he opened his hand and there were mushrooms in it that glowed like the speedometer needle in my GTI.

So we ate the glowing mushrooms and I had what can only be called a "religious experience," where I saw God but he was like a cross between Baha'ullah and a game show host (mostly Bob Barker but also like the Ray guy who hosted Family Feud in the early 90's). So God told me that my dad was really, really angry with me and that I had forgotten to hand in a term paper. Then I woke up and I had peed all over our luggage and I could only see out of one eye. But that was okay because Rastro had, like, only a ball cap on and was yelling from the balcony about where could he get a pizza RIGHT NOW.

The next day I slept until 12:30 and I called my dad and he really was pissed at me for like the credit card bill and not calling my grandma on her birthday and some other shit, and there's no way I could have known that without the introspection that the glowing shrooms gave me. I had turned in the paper on time, but I was like always procrastinating and shit back then so I think it was a warning. From God.

So Rastro and I were supposed to go snorkeling at a caye or something but we missed the boat, and it cost us like 80 bucks. But it was fine because we both felt all right by 4:30 and we went to the beach bar and there were some girls (they were like Canadian or Belgian or something) there and I got a handjob in the hot tub on the roof.

So if you see those Belizean shrooms, they are way awesome and you should take them but be kind and respectful and shit.
posted by Mayor Peace Love and Unity at 8:57 PM on October 5, 2009 [7 favorites]

Oh, these are lovely!
As an aside, I have some very unlovely phallic type in my garden similar to the one mentioned near the end of the article. They are even more phallic looking than the one pictured in the link, oh they are disgusting and stink!!! It takes some resolve to remove them, but they are so horrible one must grit one's teeth and do it. Yuck!
posted by bebrave! at 9:06 PM on October 5, 2009

Yo dawg, we heard you like a lightshow, so we put some luciferin in your 'shrooms, so you can get glowy colors while you get glowy colors!
posted by adipocere at 9:27 PM on October 5, 2009

bioluminescent shrooms, bonnie 'prince' billy style.
posted by UbuRoivas at 9:44 PM on October 5, 2009

Can I use them to light up my house?
posted by saysthis at 11:58 PM on October 5, 2009

Can I buy some of these to grow in my bathroom?

(Fungus is annoying; it might as well be useful as a night-light.)
posted by rokusan at 5:06 AM on October 6, 2009

I never knew I needed this, but I'm glad this exists and I wonder how society will ever function if these go extinct. This is the mark of intelligent design.
posted by mccarty.tim at 7:06 AM on October 6, 2009 [1 favorite]

So if I ate one would my poop glow, because that would be cool!
posted by stormpooper at 7:45 AM on October 6, 2009

Hmmmmm, they glow? so does that mean, if I eat one, it will refill my batteries? how do they taste?

posted by fuq at 9:07 AM on October 6, 2009

I once had an old elm tree stump in the front yard (western Massachusetts), rotting away, to which I decided to take an ax to reduce it to below-ground status. After a few chopping sessions, there was a pile of broken chunks of elm wood. Then while walking the dog at night, I noticed the whole pile was glowing faintly. I confirmed the glow by taking a chunk into a totally dark room; it was like one of those glow-in-the dark rocks, but not quite as bright. I assume the light was coming from the fungal mycelium (the underground part of the mushroom) exposed at the cut and broken edges. I never followed up on this by finding out what it was, but hopefully that phenomenon is known to science as well. No glowing mushrooms ever sprouted at the location of the stump, as far as I know.
posted by beagle at 10:02 AM on October 6, 2009

Following up on my comment above: with a bit of Googling it turns out that of course it's known to science. Here's an interesting piece on the phenomenon of glowing wood. From that link:

Wood containing bioluminescent mycelium has been referred to as touchwood. This wood emits a weak green light. Aristotle wrote about luminous wood as far back as 382 B.C. Glowing rotted wood was used as makeshift lanterns to light forest paths. It was documented that Spanish soldiers strapped luminous wood to their helmets to stay together during night raids. Troops in both world wars, and even some in Vietnam, used glowing wood, plant debris, or mushrooms to light their way and prevent colliding with each other. Some even used mushroom “light” to read by.

It has been suggested that touchwood might have been the magic wand of folklore. Also, according to folklore, so-called fairy sparks in decaying wood showed where fairies held their nightly festivities. California miner’s lore suggests that glowing wood marked places where miners had been killed.

posted by beagle at 10:09 AM on October 6, 2009 [5 favorites]

When they cross these buggers with psylocibes then we're in for a treet.
posted by lalochezia at 11:00 AM on October 6, 2009

From Mushrooms Demystified, page 146:


Popularly known as "jack-o-lantern mushrooms", these are brightly colored agarics with a fleshy stem and decurrent gills that often glow in the dark. Their luminescence is best seen by sitting alone in a dark closet with the mushroom while eating a grilled cheese sandwich. Unless you are a voracious eater, this method helps combat boredom while allowing your eyes to adjust to the darkness. After a few minutes an eerie silvery-green glow will become visible, growing gradualy brighter with each bite (of the cheese sandwhich [sic]) until each gill is clearly outlined. Fresh actively-sporulating specimens glow the brightest, but even they will not always cooperate.

This works even if you eat a peanut-butter sandwich instead.

I think I recall reading in another book by Arora that this all started when he was living in a communal house in Santa Cruz. He made a grilled cheese sandwich to have something to do while waiting for his eyes to adjust. One of his housemates saw him cook the sandwich, but didn't see the mushroom. When Arora emerged about 20 minutes later, his housemate was looking at him peculiarly. He decided to continue the practice of going into the closet whenever he made a grilled cheese sandwich, just to keep up the tradition. The housemate never asked why he did this.
posted by Araucaria at 11:14 AM on October 6, 2009

Remember: psychedelic-looking does not equal psychedelic-eating.
posted by not_on_display at 7:37 PM on October 6, 2009

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