Also known as foxfire or chimpanzee fire, these bioluminescence mushrooms are created by some species of fungi present in decaying wood.
'From ashes to ashes, dust to dust'. We are born from nature and we get back to it after our purpose of life is fulfilled. In this scheme of life and death, we come across a lot of creations by nature that never fails to take our breath away and make us wonder if we are really as scientifically advanced as we think we are. In nature, only a very few things catch our attention as bioluminescence does. Perhaps, the reason we are so entranced is that we wonder how can a living being emit light of its own? Whether it is the mysterious life form we find at the end of the ocean or the fireflies we see dancing in the meadows, bioluminescence has a certain almost magical quality that makes them mesmerizing.
There are no plants that have truly adapted to this phenomenon, but examples of bioluminescence can be found in plenty in the fungal kingdom. There are at least 75 known species of bioluminescent fungus. While most of them grow in the tropical climate, a few fungal species can be found in and around North America. They are primarily found on dead wood sporadically in the forests of America. Also known as foxfire or chimpanzee fire, these glow-in-the-dark mushrooms can also be found even on mine timber deep within the earth or even on the firewood of your living room.
As reported by LiveScience, people have found bioluminescence in mushrooms for thousands of years, and along with the advancement of photography, we have expanded our knowledge about the glowing mushrooms. The foxfire fungi emit a blueish-greenish light that varies in strength. Sometimes the light it emits is good enough to read a book and other times it is barely visible. The first recorded account of foxfire dates back to the time of Aristotle and he noted that even though it glows like fire, it feels cold to touch. Foxfire has also been useful even back in time as it was used to illuminate the dials of a submarine built in the 1700s.
A large number of studies have been conducted into studying bioluminescence, but nothing conclusive has ever come up. Some studies have found that the bioluminescence draws the insects that help them disperse its pores, but studies have shown the light it emits has no effect at all. But, as fascinating as they sound, foxfire is actually a pretty rare sight. Why you ask? Well, there are several reasons for it. Firstly, not all fungi glow throughout the years. Secondly, even if they do glow, because of light pollution, observing the bioluminescence is pretty difficult.
Whatever the reason might be, glow-in-the-dark fungi are pretty amazing, not to mention, they have a certain eerie quality attached to them. Even though these 'magic mushrooms' are seen sporadically in the United States, they are actually a common sight in Asia, Brazil, and Australia. But if you are a resident of the United States and you stay in West Virginia, keep an eye out for the growth of these magical fungi.