Omphalotus olearius (The Jack O'Lantern Mushroom)

 Omphalotus olearius mushroom bundle. 

Welcome to the wonderful world of The Jack-O-Lantern….

        Mushroom that is!  


chant gillsOmphalotus olearius, more commonly know as the Jack-O-Lantern Mushroom gets is name not only from its orange color, but also from its bioluminescent properties. Read more on my Spooky Story page. To the common mushroom hunter, it may appear to be a delectable treat but is poisonous. While it rarely causes death, it may make the consumer wish death upon themselves. In a recent study, patients knowingly consumed the O. olearius mushroom in an effort to document the specific effects. Most patients experienced 2 to 6 days of nausea, vomiting, abdominal cramping, diarrhea, weakness and dizziness. If this mushroom is consumed, it is advised to seek medical attention for rehydration, have potassium levels checked, and to receive baseline liver tests. (Vandenhoek 1991) Despite the horrid side effects of consuming this mushroom, many people have said that it tasted aOMP GILLSnd smelled so good that they would consider trying it again. This mushroom is sometimes called “The False Chanterelle”, because many mushroom hunters have mistaken it for the desirable Cantharellus cibarius. When mushroom hunting, these two mushrooms can be distinguished by their appearance. O. olearius possesses true gills while the Chanterelle has forked ridges. Observe the differences on the pictures to the left. In addition, the Chanterelle grows on live oak, while O. olearius grows on dead trees and stumps.  




The entire body of a Jack O’Lantern mushroom is orange in color. The size of their caps range from about 7 cm to 20 cm wide, and their heights range from 7 cm to 20 cm tall. When these mushrooms are young, the cap appears smooth and round. As the mushroom matures, the edges of the cap curve and widen out. Since the mushroom doesn’t release its spores until it is mature, the cap is curved down in the young fruiting bodies. As it reaches maturity and becomes ready to release its spores, the cap widens to allow maximum potential for spore dispersal. Observe the changes in the images below. 

omp olearius young GEomp olearius mature GEomp olearius very mature