2019 FEATURED MUSHROOM ~ Jill O'Lantern, Omphalotus subilluden

Omphalotus olivascens dyed wool by Karen Hess

Local Dialect, https://localdialect.net/mushroom-dreams/


Omphalotus illudens is commonly called the Jack O'Lantern mushroom. Another name is Clitocybe illudens and it is a large orange gilled mushroom that is often found in clumps on decaying stumps, buried roots or at the base of hardwood trees in eastern North America. Omphalotus subilluden, Jill O'Lantern, is also a large gilled orange mushroom but Jills grow on root areas away from stumps. Jills have only been documented in Florida but are rumored to exist in South Texas. They are bioluminescent and glow an orange to light green color. They glow most at first dark and lighten the rest of the night. One can put a box over them during day light hours and observe the glow. Taylor Lockwood uses a 35 minute setting for his incredible exposures. Jim Bailey used 30 minutes for the website picture. Jim's were very glowy, glowing visiably at a distance. I have been monitorig this patch of shrooms at Ravine Gardens State Park for a couple of years. They are expanding in both size of shrooms and area covered. Jills seem to prefer late November until spring for blooming when I have observed them on both living and dead palm and live oak trees. They were first observed in Gainesville in the 1980's. Omphalotus olivascens lives on the west coast of North America down into Mexico.

Jills are sometimes confused with edible chanterelles, but all Omphalotus are mildly poisonous to humans when eaten, whether raw or cooked, and typically cause vomiting and diarrhea. They are a Agaricales or cousin to the portabellas. Many are used for dyes and make an incredible purple very stable dye. They are antibacterial and antifungal in addition to having cytotoxic effects which are being used in treating some cancers. This causes DNA damage that blocks transcription. Damage in non-transcribed DNA areas is left unrepaired by the cell. This property was exploited by the company MGI Pharma to develop an illudin-derivative called Irofulven for use as a cancer treatment.

Omphalos means "navel" and otos means "like" or "resembling" in reference to the depressed centers making them belly-button mushrooms to the ancient Romans. Illudens means 'deceiving' possibly relating to the fact that these were considered toadstolls and not a mushroom at all. They grow in association with olive trees in mostly Southern Europe and bloom July thru November. While our belly button decievers might make you alittle sick, they are sometime confused with the deadly Cortinarius rubellus or the sorta edible Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca.

We are currently petitioning the Florida State Legislatur to make Jills our Florida State Mushroom. Only 3 states have state mushrooms and we don't want Florida left out about anything orange. Florida is home to the orange tree and our famous Orange and Blue Florida Gators. Remember, Jills were discovered in Gainesville near UF. Where green bioluminescent mushroom glow has been explained as the same phosporetic green chemical reacion as in lightning bugs, the orange glow of the Ompalotus is an unexplained natural phenomea. Webster defines magic as unexplained natural phenomea. It would seem then that Florida has magical orange light coming from her palm and oak tree roots from magical orange mushrooms! Florida deserves her huge magical orange glowing shroom as our Florida State Mushroom. Seminoles, well, go find your own glo-shroom!

For a detailed History of Mushroom Dyes and the International Fungi & Fibre Symposia go to http://www.mushroomsforcolor.com/SymposiumMushroomDyes.htm or the North American Mycological Association dye website at https://www.namyco.org/fiber_dye_mushrooms.php.

Omphalotus olivascens dyed skirt dipped in iron mordant by Alissa Allen

Mycopigments, http://mycopigments.com/

Skirt ~ Simple Dye Recipe

A combination of dried and frozen Jill or Jack O'Lantern fungi produced lavender and purple dyes on wool when the acidity of the dyebath was lowered to pH 4 using white vinegar, but in a separate pot, dye turned a deep forest green on iron mordanted wool when the bath was changed toward alkaline (pH9) by adding washing soda.


The MycoRainbow!

East Coast Mycorainbow by Alissa Allen


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