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    Pedernales Falls and the Southern Jack-o-lantern

    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.

    Omphalotus subilludens

    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.

    READ: Bioluminescence in the Bush – Glow in the Dark Mushrooms in New Zealand

    Joseph Pallante
    Joseph Pallantehttps://myconeer.com
    An avid traveller, Joe enjoys spending time exploring the New Zealand countryside. In his spare time, he travels around in his campervan, writes about nature, and takes photos of fungi.

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