Mysterious Glowing Mushrooms Light up Amami

Society Environment

Mycena lux-coeli, a species of bioluminescent mushroom, has started popping up in the Amami Nature Forest of Tatsugō, Kagoshima Prefecture. This diverse woodland area on the island of Amami Ōshima is forested by many Castanopsis sieboldii, also known as Japanese chinquapin. The faint green glow in the darkness creates a mysterious atmosphere throughout the forest. These glow-in-the-dark fungi can be observed on the island until June.

Springing up around the roots or on the trunk of rotted chinquapin trees, the Mycena lux-coeli is easy to miss during the day since it only grows about 3 centimeters high and its bell-shaped cap is only about 2 centimeters wide. At night, though, the entire mushroom glows in the dark.

Due to the rain and warm temperatures that came in the latter part of March, this year the first spotting of these mesmerizing mushrooms was April 1, about two weeks earlier than usual. Nature guide Kawabata Riki requests the cooperation of visitors to the area, saying, “I hope people will be careful not to disturb the natural environment as they observe the mushrooms.”

(Originally published in Japanese on Kyōdoshi.com on April 8, 2021. Translated and edited by Nippon.com. Banner photo: the green glow of Mycena lux-coeli taken on April 4, in Tatsugō, Kagoshima. All photos © Nankai Nichinichi Shimbun.)

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