I hadn’t been back to Texas in a few years. Having spent the time living in New Zealand, I was feeling a bit anxious leaving. A main reason being I’d be saying goodbye to the native bush I’d become so attached to over the years. I still feel it’s pull right now as I write this. Some hole in my heart, especially since it’s mushroom season there right now.
I hopped on iNaturalist to scope out what observations were being made around Austin and created a to-find list. At the top was Omphalotus subilludens. The only mushroom I did happen to find during a very dry November.
Halloween was over, but orange mushrooms called Jack-o-lanterns still linger.
The family and I took a trip to Pedernales Falls. This place brings back memories of my childhood and escaping the city, roaming around the hill country. This time, I was more preoccupied with GPS coordinates and tracking down a lone observation made on iNaturalist of the Southern Jack-o-lantern.
After a couple of hours, I was about to give up any hope of finding the elusive mushroom.
Heading back to the carpark, still determined, I thought I’d caught a glimpse of something orange poking up from the underbrush. I bee-lined it to a Texas Cedar and found one lone Omphalotus subilludens. Jack-pot! I’ve mentioned this before in other posts, but it’s a bit uncanny to fixate and think about a species, and then like magic it appears.
Bioluminescent Omphalotus subilludens
Above shows the bioluminescence in the gills of this species.