Omphalotus illudens
This poisonous mushroom is nonetheless a popular find among autumn mushroom hunters due to a hidden attraction: The gills beneath the cap glow in the dark. When brought into complete darkness, fresh specimens of the Jack O’ Lantern, as it’s commonly known, put forth an eerie, greenish blue light.
It’s called bioluminescence.
Touching poisonous mushrooms usually is not dangerous. Yet there is at least one report of skin irritation developing among mycologists who’ve handled Omphalotus illudens. The real risk to mushroom hunters appears to be from mistaken identity: A few people have been
made quite ill after eating this
mushroom, ultimately throwing
up--often with agonizing stomach
pain--what they thought were edible
Yellow Chanterelles (Cantharellus
TIP: Most Illinois specimens of the Jack O’ Lantern glow very faintly, so allow your eyes to adjust to total darkness.