On one of my recent walks, this log and its array of fungus caught my eye. I think it’s Panellus stricticus or else something very much like it. They grow on fallen logs, especially hardwoods, helping to speed the rotting process. They break down the complex organic compounds, such as proteins and carbohydrates, into their basic elements and return them to the soil.

Years ago on a walk with a mycologist acquaintance, he pointed out something similar to the ones in the picture and said they were bioluminescent – that is, they glow in the dark. The glow was faint, and it had to be in nearly absolute darkness.

I decided to try it for myself. So I broke off a piece and brought it home. I have a sauna in the cellar, so I brought it in there, shut off the lights and closed the door. Total darkness. No glow.

I waited a little longer, still nothing.

Oh well.

Later on I read that the glow is more apparent when it’s moist. This specimen was pretty dry. Next time I get a chance, I’ll give it another try.