Can you imagine a salad full of these? It would be the trippiest salad you have ever seen:
What you see here is a Mycena lux-coeli mushroom, which grows in Japan during the rainy season on fallen Chinquapin trees. This species is exhibiting a quality called bioluminescence, which stems from a reactive protein or pigment in the plant. These mushrooms, which the local folk refer to as shii no tomobishi-dake (an almost literal translation of “chinquapin glow mushrooms”) give off light when a chemical called luciferin gets oxidized, which makes the luciferin emit visible light – greenish-white visible light. That’s not an evil-sounding pigment, is it? Funny enough, in Latin, lucifer means “light giver.” Who would have known!
Like other fungi that grow in damp conditions, Mycena lux-coeli is no different – it seems to flourish in the wet forests on the fallen trees, but unfortunately only lasts a few days and dies once the rain stops.
Nature, you are awesome.