Jack O'Lantern
(Omphalotus olearius)
Jack O'Lantern
Jack O'Lantern sculpture

Jack O'Lantern

sculpture, acrylic paint

The Jack O'Lantern is a very dangerous mushroom with a dry, smooth, wavy-lobed orange to yellow-orange cap 3-8 inches wide, convex to flat, then becoming sunken in the center, with a knob. The margin begins incurved, then turns upward.

Jack O'Lantern Mushrooms

Immature Jack-O'-Lanterns

The orange-yellow sharp-edged, narrow gills, close together, descend the stalk. The spore print is pale cream.

Jack O'Lanterns From Below

Jack-O'-Lantern Mushrooms, from below

The yellow-orange dry, solid, smooth, curved stalk is 3-8 inches long, 3/8 to 5/8 inches thick, tapering toward the blackish base.

This decomposer grows clustered on or around deciduous stumps or buried wood, often in spectacularly large quantities.

Jack O'Lanterns

Jack-O'-Lantern Mushrooms

It grows in eastern North America and California.
The Jack-o'-lantern is poisonous, causing severe gastrointestinal upset that can last for 2 days.

People have confused it the choice, edible chanterelle, a much smaller orange mushroom that grows on the ground, with shallow, forked (branched) gills.

The mushroom gets its name because it glows dark! Wait until night, keep all light out of a room, go into a closet, close the door (don't lock yourself in!), and wait 5 minutes until your eyes adjust to the dark completely. Then you'll see the gills glowing pale-green!