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Glow-In-The-Dark Mushrooms

Panellus Stipticus

A reader dropped us a note after reading our article on fluorescence rocks and suggested we check out the bioluminescence offerings at It turned out to be an absolutely awesome tip. Glow-In-The-Dark mushrooms…how did we missed this for so long?


A few Panellus Stipticus habitat kits from arrived last week. We followed the directions, divided one of the kits into some glass jars, added a few drops of water, and left them alone for a couple of day.

From Wikipedia: “Panellus stipticus, commonly known as the bitter oyster, the astringent panus, the luminescent panellus, or the stiptic fungus, is a species of fungus in the family Mycenaceae, and the type species of the genus Panellus. A common and widely distributed species, it is found in Asia, Australasia, Europe, and North America, where it grows in groups or dense overlapping clusters on the logs, stumps, and trunks of deciduous trees, especially beechoak, and birch.”


We noticed some white mycelium on the dowels and thought that was a pretty good sign that things were happening. Wanting to see if there were any bioluminescent activities even at this nascent stage, we moved the jar to various dark corners and looked. After asking “Is that a glow?” and “You see something?” numerous times we finally found a combination that worked:

  • Placing the jars in a completely dark room
  • Waiting at least 10 minutes for our eyes to adjust to the darkness


As they are tiny at present, getting a shot of the “glow” required complete darkness and a 12 minute exposure! With low light noise-reduction mode On, it also meant an additional 12 minutes for the camera to take another shot for noise subtraction. It didn’t take us long to regress into the geeks that cloister in a closet until 2AM taking photos of bioluminescent mushrooms that we really are (not that there is anything wrong with that).


While it is true that there is not much to look at at the moment, it was really exciting and we are hopeful that the colony will get big enough to put on a “real” light show!

BTW, these Panellus Stipticus are being grown inside in a glass terrarium, but we will be inoculating some actual logs with them this week for under the back deck!

More pics and updates when appropriate.

July Update:

We have been trying to cultivate some “glow-in-the-dark” mushrooms. Why? Who WOULDN’T want GITD mushrooms??? We have a quite a few different terrariums going (with and without ground coffee as a medium). The problem is we don’t really know what we are doing.




We THINK the “white stuff” might be the mushroom’s mycelium, but it could just be mold. We have no idea. All we know is that while it is growing, nothing is glowing 🙂 It is odd as we were able to see a glow before all of this “growth.” Still, it seems happy…

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