Fungus of the day #15 (Imitation week)
Happy first day of October!

Jack O’Lantern

Omphalotus olearius




Cantharellus cibarius, Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca

The Jack O’lantern appears in eastern North America, extending as far as from the rocky mountains to California. . They grow between July and November, but in California specimens grow between November and March due to the change of climate in California. Outside of America, the Jack O'lanterns appear in Europe, primarily, albeit rarely still, in England, France, Spain, and Portugal with some sightings in Mediterranian countries other than the previously listed. They grow from September to January in southern Europe.

The shelf mushrooms grow primarily at the stumps of dead or destroyed trees (mostly deciduous and oak trees). The mushroom grows in clusters with other Jack O’lanterns, all of which feed on the dead material of the trees they grow on. In Europe, this habitat differs with the lanterns growing under olive trees instead of some hardwoods native to the US

The shelf is an orangish yellow color with a descending stalk and sharply edged gills. The coloration of the mushroom gives it the color, which resembles a Jack O’lantern. The cap is 3-8” (7.5 - 20 cm) wide, and flat. It’s also quite indented. The gills descend down the stalk and are tightly compact. They’re also orange-yellow like the remainder of the mushroom. In addition, the gills and cap also have a ghostly green tinge at night or in dark conditions. The stalk is 3-8” (7.5 - 20 cm) long and ⅜ - ⅝ “ wide (1-1.5 cm). The spore print is creamy white. To find spore print, you just simply leave the cap of a mushroom on any paper surface and the paper will display the spore print. Often, spore prints are indicative of what type of mushroom you see before you. It can be a life saver because an edible Amanita mushroom has a very distinct look from the similarly appearing mushroom, the death cap

The poisonous toadstools contain a toxin known as muscarine; which means that when consumed the Jack O’lanterns cause gastric upsets that can linger anywhere between a few hours and several days. These poisonings are seldom fatal but a measure of caution is still necessary to distinguish this species from the orange shelf mushroom it imitates.

SOURCES: (website)
National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (book) (website) (website) (website)

The appearance of the captivating Jack O’Lantern mushroom in the day compared to the eerie green glow it exhibits in dark conditions