Glow-in-the-dark mushroom rediscovered after 170 years.
The bioluminescent shrooms had become a Brazilian legend of sorts. They were first spied in 1840 by an English botanist named George Gardner, who was alarmed after he saw some boys playing with a glowing object in the streets of Vila de Natividad, a village in the Goiás state in central Brazil. After that, no more sightings of the brightly glowing fungus had ever been reported.
The mushroom was nearly forgotten until 2002, when Brazilian chemist Cassius Stevani came across Gardner’s early reports. Then, in 2005, a breakthrough occurred. A pair of primatologists, Patricia Izar from São Paulo University in Brazil and Dorothy Fragaszy of the University of Georgia in Athens, were studying a band of monkeys deep in the Brazilian interior when they came across something mysterious glowing at the base of some palm trees.
Izar and Fragaszy scooped up specimens and contacted Stevani, who later confirmed that the mushrooms were indeed Gardner’s long lost species.