The North American Jack O'Lantern mushroom (Omphalotus illudens) has sometimes been treated as conspecific with (i.e., belonging to the same species as) the European O. olearius, but these are now generally recognized as distinct species. Omphalotus illudens, which is also present in Europe, is one of four Omphalotus species that have been described from North and Central America. The widespread eastern North American species is O. illudens and the West Coast one is O. olivascens (O. subilludens occurs in the southeastern United States; Ammirati et al. 1985).
The Jack O'Lantern mushroom's name is derived from the its orange color and the fact that the gills often glow eerily greenish (clearly visible under very dark conditions). This muscarine-containing poisonous mushroom with conspicuously decurrent gills (i.e., gills descending stalk) is widespread and locally common in eastern North America, growing in dense clusters on tree stumps and buried roots of oak and other hardwoods. The spore print is cream-colored.
(Lincoff 1981; Arora 1986; Kirchmair et al. 2004 and references therein)
- Ammirati, J.F., J.A. Traquair, P.A. Horgen. 1985. Poisonous Mushrooms of the Northern United States and Canada. University of Minnesota Press. Minneapolis, Minnesota.
- Arora, D. 1986. Mushrooms Demystified, 2nd. edition. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley.
- Kirchmair, M., S. Morandell, D. Stolz, and R. Pöder. 2004. Phylogeny of the Genus Omphalotus Based on Nuclear Ribosomal DNA-Sequences. Mycologia 96(6): 1253-1260.
- Lincoff, G. 1981.The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Alfred A. Knopf, New York.
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