Domain: Eukarya
All organisms included in this domain possess eukaryotic cells. A eukaryotic cell is a type of cell with a membrane-enclosed nucleus and membrane-enclosed organelles. (Campbell and Reece et. al 2009) Eukaryotic cells are the main differentiation between domain Eukarya and domain Archae and Eubacteria. Omphalotus nidiformis is classified into this domain because it has a membrane-enclosed nucleus and membrane-enclosed organelles. Examples of other organisms which are classified into domain Eukarya include Asimina triloba, Pawpaw Fruit and Cryptotethya Crypta, Sea Sponges.

Kingdom: Fungi
Members of this kingdom are heterotrophs, decomposers, parasites, or mutualists, which possess hyphae, are supported structurally by chitinous cell walls, and have the ability to reproduce through sexual and asexual life cycles. O. nidiformis is classified into this kingdom because it is a heterotroph, meaning it feeds off others in order to survive, possesses hyphae, which will be discussed in greater detail in the Reproduction page, is supported by chitinous cell walls, and reproduces through a sexual life cycle. Other interesting fungi include Aspergillus fumigatus, A Human Pathogenic Fungus and Saccharomyces cerevisiae, Baker's and Brewer's Yeast.

Phylum: Basidiomycota
Mushrooms, puffballs, and shelf fungi named basidiomycetes, belong to this phylum due to their externally-borne spores on a club-shaped structure called a basidium. Omphalotus nidiformis  belongs to this phylum because of its externally-borne spores and basidium. Another example of an organism that belongs to this phylum is Cyathus striatus, Bird's Nest Fungi. Fifteen basidiomycota mushroom species were assessed for hemagglutination and lectin activity. (Rouf et. al 2011) Omphalotus nidiformis was even an organism included in this study. Hemagglutination is the clumping together of red blood cells and lectin are sugar-binding proteins that are highly specific for their sugar moieties. What defined an organism of being lectin active was determined by the ability of differing mono- and oligosaccharides to be active. Of the mushrooms tested, there was a total of seven which showed lectin activity. Six (one being O. nidiformis) expressed lectin activity in only one of the two total collections. The remaining two lectin active organisms showed activity with the same sugar in both collections. (Rouf et. al 2011)

Class: Agaricomycetes
This is characterized by the presence of a pileus that is distinctly differentiated from the stipe with lamellae underneath the pileus. The pileus is the fleshy cap of the mushroom which is easily damaged. On mushrooms, the stipe represents the stalk-like or stem supporting the pileus. The lamellae located under the pileus refers to the gill which aids in spore dispersal and increases the surface area to volume ratio of the fungus. (Springbrook Research Centre 2011) This organism is classified into this class because it possesses a pileus, a stipe, and a lamellae. Two organisms I find particularly interesting are Auricularia auricula-judae, The Jelly Ear Mushroom and Ganoderma lucidum, Reishi or Lingzhi Mushroom.

Order: Agaricales
The organisms that belong to this order are the fungi you typically think of when someone mentions a mushroom that is found in a terrestrial environment. Omphalotus nidiformis is included in this order because before this mushroom reaches maturity it looks like the typical white button mushroom found on the top of your pizza. Mushrooms that fall under this classification include Amanita muscaria, The Fly Agaric, Calvatia gigantea, Giant Puffball and Lentinula edodes, Shiitake Mushroom.

Family: Marasmiaceae
Omphalotus nidiformis is included in this family because each organism has white spores, a tough stem, and the capability to shrivel up during a dry period and recover.

Genus: Omphalotus
All members of this genus have a traditional cap and stem form, they're saprotrophic and grow in clusters around trees. The best known organism belonging to this genus is Omphalotus olearus, The Jack-O'-Lantern Mushroom. Similar to O. nidiformis, this organism causes gastrointestinal symptoms after ingesting such as severe cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. One study took place testing the O. olearus and O. nidiformis with the help of alkylating agents. (Schobert et. al 2011) These agents were first found accidently in compounds used for poisonous gas. Illudens were tested to show toxicity for leukemia and other carcinoma cells. O. olearus and O. nidiformis were tested against cancer cells but deemed powerful, but too toxic for chemotherapeutics. (Schobert et. al 2011)

Photo provided courtesy of Blue Mountains Botanic Garden, Mount Tomah.

Species: Omphalotus nidiformis
This organism is found in Southern Australia and is most famous for its bioluminescent properties. Omphalotus nidiformis' scientific name is derived from the Latin word nidus meaning 'nest' and forma meaning 'shape' or 'form' hence 'nest shaped.'

If you would like to continue learning about Omphalotus nidiformis, please continue on to the Phylogenetic Tree page.