Scientific name: Omphalotus nidiformis
Synonyms: Ghost fungus
Natural habitat: Ghost fungus is distributed in Australia and Oceania, Southeast Asia to India, in deciduous and mixed forests, in Australia it is common in eucalyptus forests.
Appropriate substrate: Hardwood (most suitable: oak, beech), pine tree
Usage: Luminescent mushroom for decoration – DEADLY POISONOUS!
Omphalotus nidiformis, or ghost fungus, is a gilled basidiomycete mushroom most notable for its bioluminescent (ability for producing light) properties. Its bioluminescence, a blue-green color, is only observable in low light conditions when the eyes get dark-adapted. Not the entire fruit body glows, only the gills do, a phenomenon also called "foxfire". This is due to an enzyme called luciferase, acting upon a compound called luciferin, leading to the emission of light much as fireflies do.
The fan- or funnel-shaped fruit bodies are up to 30 cm across, with cream-coloured caps overlain with shades of orange, brown, purple, or bluish-black. The white or cream gills run down the length of the stipe, which is up to 8 cm long and tapers in thickness to the base. The fungus is both saprotrophic and parasitic, and its fruit bodies are generally found growing in overlapping clusters on a wide variety of dead or dying trees. It could be mistaken as an edible pleurotus, but like most glowing mushrooms, the Omphalotus nidiformis is deadly poisonous!
Species: Omphalotus nidiformis
Spores: white, round to ellipsoid, 7,5 - 9,5 x 5 - 7 µ