0073 Glowing Forests of India
This is Randi Hacker with another Postcard from Abroad from the KU Centers for East Asian Studies and Global and International Studies.
Here’s one for your global travel bucket list—visit India where the forests not only grow but they glow. That’s right the jungles of the Western Ghats here in southwest India emit a subtle greenish light at night. This only happens in September, two months after the monsoon season starts, when rain has transformed the dry, dusty landscape into a lush, green one. One organism that flourishes in this bio-diversity hot spot is Mycena, a bioluminescent fungus which grows on rotting wood and leaf litter. The light from these tiny mushrooms is created by a chemical reaction and is thought to attract insects which then help to disperse its spores. When thousands of fungi emit this light at night, the forest glows and creates an enchanted sight. Leave it to India, one of the world’s oldest cultures, to find a way to put the “fun” into “fungus.”
With thanks to Jennifer Duhamel for this text, from the KU Center for East Asian Studies, this is Randi Hacker. Wish you were here.
Photo by Thangaraj Kumaravel on Flickr