These mushrooms may not have any hallucinogenic properties, but they are psychedelic in their own right, emitting a yellow-green glow in the darkness. Seven new species of luminescent mushrooms give fungal enthusiasts new insight into mushrooms' glowing evolution.
Dennis Desjardin, a biology professor at San Francisco State University has, with his colleagues discovered seven new species of glowing mushrooms all over the world, from Belize and Brazil to Malaysia and Japan. Only four of the species were previously undiscovered; the other three species have been observed before, but luminescent varietals had never been noted. Desjardin named two of the new species from the Mycena genus Mycena luxaeterna (eternal light) and Mycena luxperpetua (perpetual light), after sections from Mozart's Requiem, because these species glow 24 hours a day.
Desjardin believes that the mushrooms grow to attract nocturnal animals that will eat the caps and disperse the spores. But what is interesting is the variety of glowing mushrooms found among the Mycena genus. The luminescent species come from 16 different lineages of Mycena, and since not all Mycena species glow, he posits that luminescence evolved at a single point in Mycena's evolutionary history, and that later mushrooms lost the ability to glow.