Oct 08 2011

Glow in the Dark

Published by at 8:47 am under Plants


October is a good time of year to see wood glow in the dark.

The phenomenon is called foxfire and is most often caused by the honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea), native to eastern North America.

Armillaria mellea feeds primarily on hardwood and is most often noticed when it produces fruit –> honey mushrooms.  The mushrooms are like the apples on a tree.  There’s a big plant structure that produces the fruit, but in the case of Armillaria you can’t see the “plant” until it glows.

The glowing comes from its rhizomorphs that look like long, black bootlaces and grow under the bark of dead trees, downed logs, old roots and stumps.  They also grow on living trees which they eventually kill.

The faster they grow, the more they glow because their feeding process produces light.  Their bioluminescence is a chemical reaction that’s the opposite of photosynthesis.  The tree they’re consuming used CO2 + light to produce organic (carbon-based) material + oxygen.  The fungi use luciferin molecules to combine organic material + oxygen to produce CO2 + light.  Pretty ingenious, eh?

Finding foxfire is problematic, especially for city folks like me.  The light produced is a faint green or blue glow that’s easily swamped by man-made light.

The habitat and weather must cooperate too.  The infected wood has to be damp — not too wet, never dry — and the best temperature is 77oF though anything above freezing is acceptable.  Summer heat (86oF+) shuts down bioluminescence which makes autumn, with its early sunsets and cooler temperatures, an optimal time to see it.

I’ve never seen foxfire but that’s no surprise.  I’d have to drive to a very dark place (how far?) and wander in the woods at night looking for a faint glow, hoping I don’t encounter a mammal I don’t want to meet.  Spooky!

Have you seen foxfire?  Where?

(photo of foxfire in Allegany State Park, New York by highlatitude on Flikr, Creative Commons license.  Click on the photo to see the original)

86 responses so far

86 Responses to “Glow in the Dark”

  1. Doug Baumanon 08 Oct 2011 at 9:07 am

    I’ve never seen it, and I’ve lived in the woods all my life. Many times I’ve been out at night (no city lights) and haven’t seen it. Can’t wait to hear where a good place to see this around here is.

  2. Mom Teeon 08 Oct 2011 at 9:23 am

    I always wondered how they got the name of the “Foxfire” books of the 60’s/70’s (right date?). Now, I know.

  3. John Englishon 08 Oct 2011 at 11:16 am

    I’ve seen Jack-o-lantern mushrooms at Todd Sanctuary, but never foxfire. The mushrooms are a rather startling sight when you come upon them unexpectedly!

  4. Joshon 08 Oct 2011 at 8:46 pm

    Do you happen to know why on earth a fungus would want to waste carbohydrates (or other organic molecules) on emitting light? Typically its more efficient to convert them into more useful forms of energy, such as chemical energy in the form of ATP that can be used to perform the necessary reactions for life. I can’t imagine what evolutionary advantage it would give the mushroom to glow in the dark (probably due to my lack of imagination).

  5. Kate St. Johnon 09 Oct 2011 at 6:57 am

    Seems it’s not a waste to the fungus because gets its energy using this chemical reaction: the more it grows the more it glows. It’s ingenious that one chemical reaction (bioluminescence) is the opposite of another (photosynthesis). Nothing is lost.

  6. Joshon 10 Oct 2011 at 4:48 pm

    Perhaps I’m just misunderstanding, but I can’t see how using useful energy like carbs to make useless energy like light is anything but wasteful. Also, I don’t see why an organism would evolve something like bio-luminescence if it didn’t give it an evolutionary advantage. Just saying. . .

  7. jeanon 25 Oct 2011 at 8:26 am

    i have seen foxfire in eastern tn.

  8. David Son 24 May 2012 at 2:15 pm

    Sorry to “reactivate” an older conversation; I have been ~8 months away from Kate’s blog, but would like to weigh in on this one.

    I think that when the organic matter (i.e. mostly cellulose or complex sugars) is broken down by the fungus, a photon is naturally emitted as a part of the process. It is useless to the fungus, but it is not deliberate “waste”. The energies made available from a chemical reaction are a function of the bonds that are broken. Some higher energies cannot be captured, and are lost as a photon (or as a low level of heat).

    It is mistaken to think that every extant biological trait exists because it confers an advantage. Some characteristics persist simply because: (1) they were created ‘randomly’, as all traits are, AND (2) the trait confers no DISadvantage.

    The light emission occurs because chemical reactions are occurring. The fungus is using what chemical energy it is able to use easily and/or efficiently. The light probably confers no advantage. The light also probably confers no disadvantage.

    Amillaria mellea is a wonderful edible mushroom (to be eaten with extreme caution!!). If the woods were full of people (or light-sensitive animals) looking for them, only the least light-emitting specimens would survive. Either the light emitting trait would diminish/disappear, or the mushroom might.

  9. Teri Son 04 Oct 2012 at 3:45 pm

    Hi All. I found this discussion while researching the science specifics of “Foxfire” for my friends and thought I would share my experience with Foxfire. We spotted some last night while horseback riding at Lord Stirling Stables in Somerset County N.J. It was dark and very foggy – about 98% humidity and 71 degrees F. We were on wooded riding trails near the Great Swamp Refuge. This is not the first time I have seen Foxfire on these paths. Back in July it was even more obvious. The type here looks like glowing embers under the leaves or fallen tree trunks. I even had it “displaying” along my driveway at home (NJ) in July which was a surprise. I hadn’t picked up old leaves and dead tree bark under my forsythia bushes, giving it an ideal environment , I suppose. It was very humid and warm. It cannot usually be seen there. The conditions have to be just right.

  10. Dougon 06 Oct 2012 at 12:53 am

    I have seen foxfire in Western Washington state. I was 8 years old and we were leaving my cub scout camp. I looked up the trail and saw an entire stump glowing in the dark. At first I thought I was seeing things, but as we got closer I realized that it was a glowing stump. I broke off a piece of the stump and took it home. It stopped glowing once the wood dried out.

  11. Faithon 14 Oct 2012 at 10:42 pm

    I live in Missouri and we saw some last night. We had the coon dogs out and while stopping to listen to them bark to see where they were, we noticed a glowing on a log by us. I picked some to get a better look at it at home under the light.
    It looks like a small mushroom you might see anywhere in the woods. The next day there wasn’t any glow left. I heard older folks talk about it and
    they said it was rare to see it. The temperature was about 70 degrees that night.
    I have seen it once before about 6 or 7 years before around the same area. Conditions must be just right for it to grow here.

  12. Devonon 29 Nov 2012 at 6:25 pm

    Thank you for this description and introducing me to the term “foxfire”. I saw this phenomenon about 15 years ago and had no idea what it was. As far as we could tell it was just a piece of bark that could glow in the dark. When looking at the bark under the light, we could see nothing remarkable about it. There was no visible trace to where the glowing material was.

    I always guessed that it was some sort of fungus but could never figure out what kind. I even asked people who I believed to be experts and they had no clue. I’ve often gone back to the same area to try to find more but never saw it except for that one year. I think I might have to go back and check again. But yes it doesn’t glow very bright so if you’re hiking at night with a flashlight, you probably won’t see it. It was one of our favourite past times at the time to do “night hikes”; hiking on trails far away from the city lights without the aid of flashlights. This is probably why we were able to find it.

  13. dana Foxon 04 Aug 2013 at 9:09 pm

    woke up last night at our campsite on the little emory river in tennessee and was amazed to see an entire two ricks of stacked hardwood fire wood glowing with bio luminescence. It was eerie, beautiful and sorta made me feel bad to add more of the wood to the fire. What a beautiful site though!

  14. Roger Slightomon 27 Jul 2014 at 10:33 pm

    We were camping last night and woke up before sunrise to find wood chips glowing. We had created the chips the previous night in the process of cutting firewood. Neither of us had seen it before. The conditions must have been just right, cool & humid but not raining. It looked magical because it was sprinkled all over the ground.

  15. Roger Slightomon 27 Jul 2014 at 10:41 pm

    I forgot to mention that we were camping by a lake in central Illinois.

  16. Cindy Greenowon 28 Jul 2014 at 6:56 pm

    Just seen this phenomenon 2 days ago, very weird camping in a field in Devon owned by friends who cut up a fallen tree for the fire. All the wood glowed including the chips on the ground! Never seen anything like it, totally amazing experience.

  17. Amanda Mon 31 Aug 2014 at 4:16 pm

    Last night at our camp site in Ohiopyle State Park (Pennsylvania) my husband and I witnessed this for the first time ever. I must say it was pretty amazing!

  18. thomas zuron 05 Sep 2014 at 2:41 am

    Just experienced this for the first time tonight sept.5 2015. I have worked for the forest service in many ways and spent many nights in the mountains without ever setting anything like this. Im in western mass breaking trees up for a fire and get very spooked by this phenomenon. Excitedbut

  19. Belinda Ton 22 Sep 2014 at 1:33 am

    It’s Sept. 21st 2014. My husband and I are camping in Willamette National Park at a place called McKenzie Bridge campground. We split some wood earlier in the day from a short log left behind from a previously cut downed tree. As we collecting our fire wood up for our next stay and because we thought it was getting ready to rain. My Husband started picking up the cut pieces,we noticed something glowing on some of them. First reaction was to check it out in the bright light. We seen nothing but a nice piece of hard wood so we placed in our black trash bag to our surprise you could see it glowing even brighter through the black trash bag. Once again Nature has another beautiful surprise to show off. The last time we seen something similar was in the Ocean while sailing in the night. I felt so fortunate to be able to witness it first hand with my hubby. Definitely a night to remember. Thanks so much for the explanation. So very cool:)
    B & B Tackett

  20. Jton 11 Nov 2014 at 7:50 pm

    Tonight was the first time I’ve seen fox fire. I live in Mississippi and I just got done splitting some fire wood from a tree that’s been dead for little over a year. It’s cool to walk outside to see my wood pile glowing.

  21. M Heilmanon 24 Dec 2014 at 11:26 am

    My husband and I have noticed patches of bioluminescence in 3 or 4 trees in our yard this fall. It’s certainly interesting, but I’m wondering if it’s indicates a problem. We first saw it in one tree, now it seems to be showing up in small patches in other trees – up in the branches. Does anyone know if something harmful is happening to the trees? Thanks!

  22. Kate St. Johnon 24 Dec 2014 at 2:44 pm

    M. Heilman, the glowing is caused by Armillaria, a fungus that feeds on the heartwood. Eventually the fungus weakens the tree and causes it to break and fall over. If you want to preserve the trees, have an arborist look at them.

  23. airikaon 10 May 2015 at 2:45 pm

    I encountered some foxfire wood last night its amazing. Im in washing state. We were burning brush at night and came across a whole pile of it Last night.

  24. Claudia Galeon 12 May 2015 at 11:32 pm

    I just arrived home, at 11:30 pm, after having seen my first foxfire phenomenon. I had never even HEARD of this fungi before…and knowing that it was a “natural phenomenon” I was about to see, I had no idea how “other worldly” it would eventually seem to be.

    It was not only luminescent….glowing on it’s own through the above mentioned chemical reactions….it was, as one fellow mentioned….actually emitting light….as though it had an energy unlike ANY fungus, plant or non animal living thing I’ve ever known.

    When I googled foxfire, prior to my ride getting here, for me to see the actual THING….they showed an actual mushroom, that was a fluorescent looking “apple green”.

    I had no idea what a treat I was in for. I was lucky enough to get a 2″ slice of one of the trees….and I keep on misting it….keeping it wet….but I would GREATLY APPRECIATE if anyone could tell me the BEST way to keep this thing glowing….and these fungi alive.

    I mean, they live off of dead things, so it’s all very illuminating…..on SO many levels. Thank you, those who have bothered to read this….and ANYONE who might be able to answer my question in a timely manner (or not….)…..thank you, sincerely….

  25. Kate St. Johnon 13 May 2015 at 8:16 am

    Claudia, I’m not sure how to keep the foxfire in glowing condition though it may survive anyway in a dormant condition.

  26. Bill Burnson 17 May 2015 at 7:39 am

    When I was in the Boy Scouts in the early 1970’s we would go camping once a month and for 2 weeks we had summer camp. I saw the glowing on stumps and on dead trees quite a few times. Most of the camping we did was at Camp Glen Gray in Mahwah NJ near the NY state line. All of our camping trips were in NJ or NY state. I remember kicking apart rotten wood or using an ax to chop weed that would glow. The glowing of the chips created would subside over the course of a few days. Come to think of it, the times we would find the glowing wood would be during summer camp or late spring or early fall trips.

  27. Kim Tayloron 03 Jun 2015 at 12:46 am

    My grandson found this tonight by a pond in our back farm~lewisburg, ky! I looked it up and this is where I got~but it’s the first time I ever seen it in my life~beautiful!

  28. Paul Danger Kileon 19 Jun 2015 at 7:13 am

    Where: Adirondack Mountains, Fort Ann, New York, USA
    When: Early 1980s
    What: Green glowing forest: there were no visible mushrooms, and the fungus could not be seen by the naked eye, except when it was glowing. I kept a piece of wood from the forest floor, but my mother threw it out.

  29. Marsha messeron 29 Jun 2015 at 11:03 pm

    Me and my kids have just found fox fire behind our house in Mississippi. There was a lot of it and it was green.

  30. Ryanon 14 Jul 2015 at 11:02 pm

    I’ve seen it just this weekend! It was in a damp section in the red river gorge in Kentucky. Was seriously one of the coolest things I have seen!

  31. vincenton 21 Jul 2015 at 12:02 am

    Black River Falls Wisconsin. Wow, this is amazing! Never see anything like this before. Lot’s of it. Thought I had krytonite, but after I smell it, NOT…it’s just a mushroom or fungi.

  32. libbydaddyon 28 Jul 2015 at 7:26 pm

    I have, twice in 1 summer. On trails in a NJ bedroom community. Once because an animal dug holes in a stump along a trail and the other time where a rotten tree fell over and the inside of the stump and log where it met the stump glowed. This was again by surprise in a bedroom community in NJ. So it can be seen (on clear nights with no cloud cover) in otherwise what might be considered bright places. Thanks for the info!

  33. Hutsonon 02 Aug 2015 at 9:23 am

    Saw foxfire this past weekend in cosby campground in the great smoky mountain national forest. It was growing on a downed log right outside my tent. Of course I had no idea what it was at the time. I literally thought some irresponsible camper must have burst a glow stick. When it was back the next night I realized nothing man made glows that long. It was absolutely amazing. I thought I was in the movie Avatar. Haha. Anyway, thanks for clearing up my questions.

  34. renee Lauxon 07 Sep 2015 at 4:45 pm

    Tionesta PA – chopped wood for campfire – downed a dead pine tree – that night the whole pile of stacked fresh cut wood was glowing and often it had permeated under the bark and was on the inside of the wood. It was amazing and bright. You could not see any fungi or growth under bright light- looked like a fresh cut log but in the dark there were glowing streaks all over the logs and the wood chips all over the ground where we chopped the wood. Amazing!

  35. Jeanee Marroquinon 15 Sep 2015 at 11:55 am

    i did!! Last night IN MY LIVING ROOM,!!!
    Just cut wood for the stove laying in the living room floor. 3:10 am and I was about to throw more wood on the fire and noticed light.
    I looked and several pieces I had just brought in were GLOWING! I pulled the bark off and it was amazing. I went straight to the computer and saw your post.
    I am in Chugiak, Alaska….. Right outside of Anchorage.

    Thanks for the info! I will bring in more tonight and if I see it again, I will see about snapping a picture.

  36. Amber Winnellon 20 Sep 2015 at 1:34 am

    My husband told me about this “glow in the dark wood” YEARS ago, brought it home with him, at dark that night it didn’t glow… I thought he was either nuts or pulling my leg… Low & behold we are camping outside the city limits in Charleston, WV tonight and THERE IT WAS!!! I am like a kid on a scavenger hunt now LoL… Ps: we live here in WV as well…

  37. Debby Hookon 30 Sep 2015 at 9:18 pm

    We saw foxfire last night, 2:35 a.m., (Sept. 29, 2015) when a dead tree fell over after an all-day rain, in our woods north of Shippensburg, Pennsylvania. It glowed bright white in the interior of the tree where it broke off, and in the root remaining in the ground. Tonight we revisited it; it’s still glowing, but appears to have spread slightly and glows less intensely; it’s more like a light from within. We see evidence of whitish threads on the wood that glows.

  38. Kenon 22 Oct 2015 at 11:45 pm

    Saw some here tonight in Peace River, Alberta. At first I thought somebody put their Christmas lights up early. But it was the wood of a tree on its last legs. Mostly blue glow but some red too. This was tree in my back ally. Quite bazaar. Never saw this before. Thanks for the info.

  39. Charleson 12 Nov 2015 at 7:24 am

    I have foxfire in my yard 2 faint green masses in the tree next to my house in my neighbors yard. I live in North Carolina

  40. Ryanon 15 Nov 2015 at 8:24 pm

    I know this is an old thread but I believe there is foxfire in the trees behind my house. It looks like small, glowing green orbs. I tried to take a picture with my phone but they didn’t come out great.

  41. Ryanon 15 Nov 2015 at 8:25 pm

    Sorry. Forgot to say that I live on Long Island, NY. Patchogue.

  42. katlupeon 17 Nov 2015 at 9:34 am

    Yes, we have just cut down an old apple tree that was rotting. Half of it fell down, so my husband cut the rest of it down. Last night, we saw the firewood on our hearth glowing. We had never heard or seen of it before. That is why I was researching it and found your blog. Our wood seemed to have a yellowish /green glow. This tree had a big pile of fungi growing at the foot of it around the trunk. The funny thing is that this year, this apple tree had a huge harvest of apples and they were the best we ever tasted from it. Then part of it fell over and it was all rotted, it was very old, and even the roots were rotted.

    We are in the state forest near Oxford, NY.

  43. lynnon 24 Nov 2015 at 9:32 pm

    I’ve seen foxfire in several trees along my driveway the last two nights. There is a nearly full moon and the temperature is below freezing. This is Maine in November. Most is bluish, but there are a few glowing red.

  44. D A Lloydon 27 Nov 2015 at 12:21 pm

    Seen this Foxfire the other day,,I was going out to a treestand early in the morning,,a very moon light night,,there were glowing green “lights” looking like LED’s on the ground for 50 yds along the woods ground,,never seen this before,,thanks all for the information on the subject !

  45. r a mon 27 Nov 2015 at 6:29 pm

    okay, i saw this tonight. it looks like 3 beads of neon green all over the branches and trunk of two trees out back past my yard in woods. at first i thought it was stars peeking through but they were too close. the neighbor just lit their christmas lights tonight for the first time this year and i thought it was a reflection of that. but it’s neither. it’s so cool looking but i can’t get a picture of it because i can’t figure out how to take a picture in the complete dark. it’s definitely attached to the trees and glowing really bright neon green. its like nature providing me a christmas tree cause i’m not putting one up again this year, the kids are all grown and gone . . .

  46. Barbaraon 30 Nov 2015 at 9:20 pm

    We live in Farmingville NY and have been seeing small green globes in the trees at night for the past four days. Never have noticed them before and we’ve lived here almost 40 years. Really exciting to see! Wish we could get a picture!

  47. Deeannon 30 Nov 2015 at 9:25 pm

    Omg..i live on long island…very close to Patchogue … and noticed green glowing globs on some tall trees in my yard. Tried to take a pic but it didnt come out good enough. I thought i was going crazy! I googled it and was glad i found ur posts. Thanks!! Very pretty!

  48. Charleson 30 Nov 2015 at 9:58 pm

    We live in southern Mississippi. Today we cleared some wooded land and as I went back this evening to look at the success I noticed something that looked like green coals lying around in one area. I just thought I was see a reflection or something but it was bright enough I looked the second time. It was obviously foxfire, it was very impressive to see something that has to have everything just right for it to come about. 70 degrees and a little damp. Thanks for the info

  49. Lisaon 30 Nov 2015 at 10:13 pm

    We live in Ronkonkoma and have also seen at least 5 glowing branches up in the trees tonight. Also tried to take pics but can’t see them ….very strange…..

  50. Tomason 01 Dec 2015 at 12:27 am

    I just came across this posts.

    The pine trees in my yard have some blue “lights” in them. I was wondering what that was.

    I’d seen bioluminescence in water when I was in the navy. But this is the first time I’d seen it elsewhere. (At least I hope that’s what I’m looking at.

    FYI the current conditions: It rained a few days ago and the temperature is in the low 40s. So this sounds like what’d happening in my trees.

  51. Jessicaon 03 Dec 2015 at 12:46 pm

    Omg,I was googling just now what this was and was lead here as well. My fiancè was taking our puppy to podi last night and 3 trees in the front/side of our yard were glowing in several (ALOT) on the branches. Nost were neon green glows but we spotted some that were glowing red as well…. We were a little creeped out as we werent sure what this was. I will b happy to inform him today I have fig’d out what this is and what causes it. But most say it happens in warm weather and it is by far warm here in Knob Noster, MO…. It was high 30°’s here and was 9:00pm at night…. Was the craziest but coolest thing we have ever seen as well 😉

  52. Jasonon 03 Dec 2015 at 9:55 pm

    Just lost a quadcopter in my pine tree trying to figure out what the stang green and red dots were. Should have checked this out first but having never seen nor hear of such phenomenon I decided to investigate… now to get my quadcopter back from ~50ft.

  53. Amyon 03 Dec 2015 at 10:19 pm

    Just saw this for the first time in south-central Montana. My husband was taking the trash out and thought the stars were shining really brightly between the bare tree branches of the neighbor’s giant elm tree across the alley. As he got closer, he realized there were little blue lights – and a few red lights – at the very tips of some branches. Then he noticed it on two other trees in two other back yards. They look a little like tiny Christmas lights but are just at the very top of the trees and way out on the tips. Shining a flashlight on them washes them out. We found this website when we searched for a possible cause. We had never heard of this before. Thanks to everyone for sharing!

  54. Deniseon 03 Dec 2015 at 10:38 pm

    Tonight was the second time that I noticed patches of glowing green in some tall old trees in my backyard. The larger patch looked like it fluttered. I’m in northern Illinois and it is 34 degrees with 76% humidity. The glowing spots were in different trees than tonight. I’m sure glad that there is a reasonable explanation.

  55. Peggyon 04 Dec 2015 at 4:14 am

    A tree in my yard glows with foxfire. It is beautiful!

  56. Pamelaon 05 Dec 2015 at 9:48 pm

    Yep! It’s a real thing…just saw it this evening on one of our trees. Glowing was red and green..kinda cool, but a drag to know that our tree may not survive. Thanks for the information!

  57. Kealaon 06 Dec 2015 at 1:04 am

    Everyone, thank you for sharing your experiences! We are looking at foxfire tonight, in Wake Forest, NC. We had no idea how the hundreds of green (and a few red) lights made their way into a naturally forested area behind a neighbor’s house…some of the lights glowed from the tops of 50-plus feet trees, as well as all points in-between and on the ground. We managed to get some pictures by leaving the shutter open for several seconds at a time. The lights do not flicker or change intensity, and have remained unchanged for almost an hour. I went online to see if any info was available and found this website. Thank you for helping us figure out that what we are seeing is foxfire!

  58. Kealaon 06 Dec 2015 at 6:30 am

    Follow-up note: over 6 hours later and the foxfire lights are still visible. It’s beginning to get light (dawn), so some of the lights near the treetops are fading from view.

  59. Kealaon 07 Dec 2015 at 8:09 pm

    Final follow-up note:
    False alarm everyone…our neighbor has a new lighting product that projects many small green lights into buildings, trees, forests, etc. He has several of these, thus the widespread swath of lights that we observed. So, we did NOT see foxfire – we saw new technology holiday lighting. Pretty, and disappointing, at the same time.

  60. Callion 09 Dec 2015 at 9:51 am

    I live in a suburban neighborhood in Montgomery, Alabama. I woke up at 4am this morning and went out in my backyard to look at the stars. It was a beautiful, clear night, lots of stars. Then I noticed some of the “stars” I was seeing were high up in a pine tree. I got my binoculars and saw that they were oddly shaped and glowing green. I had seen “glow worms” before, and foxfire on the ground. But this is December, with temps in the 30s, and these were high up in a tree. I guess my pine tree might be in trouble, but it is a fascinating sight to behold on a cold winter Thanks for solving the mystery.

  61. Heidion 10 Dec 2015 at 11:18 am

    I live in MN and saw it high up in two trees on an dark early morning walk with my dog. My experience was the same as thinking I was looking at stars. Since it is Christmas time, I was trying to figure out if they could have been some subtle Christmas decoration but then couldn’t fathom how they would have gotten it up there and spread out (foam gun? spray gun, droplet spray….). And then I though maybe it was some weird thing that a bird had eaten and pooped out. However it had happened, it was really magical. I am glad I found this website and now know it is foxfire. I no longer have to figure the logistics if they had been Christmas decorations. 🙂

  62. M. Kellyon 14 Dec 2015 at 8:49 pm

    I’m so glad that other people are seeing this too! We have been watching this stuff now for 3 nights. It’s warm and humid here in Virginia for December. I guess that’s what is bringing it out. It is on several trees, oaks and pines. All are at least 30 feet up and mostly on the tips of branches. One big patch is on the trunk of a pine tree.
    The big patch when watched through binoculars does turn itself on and off. And the glow can be very bright like a glow stick. It is beautiful but darned freaky looking. I wish we could get a video of it or at least a few pictures, but it won’t show up on our cameras.
    Strange that we are all seeing it at about the same time in December isn’t it?

  63. Jasonon 17 Dec 2015 at 8:12 pm

    I live in Falmouth ma. My branches and trunks are glowing in spots right now. My wife said the other night there was a bowling bowl sized red spot glowing. I heard its a fungus nicknamed foxfire. I have been here for 8 years and have never seen this!

  64. Jasonon 17 Dec 2015 at 8:17 pm

    More importantly is there a treatment for foxfire or will all my trees eventually succumb to this and if so how long will it take?

  65. Kate St. Johnon 17 Dec 2015 at 10:36 pm

    Jason, foxfire appears after the fungus has already grown inside the tree. Check with an arborist to find out if it can be saved.

  66. lisaPon 21 Dec 2015 at 10:30 am

    Hi I live in Clinton Mississippi, a small town outside of Jackson. I moved here for work about year and half ago. About 3 weeks ago I went outside on my back patio to BBQ some chicken one night. I looked up and there was green like glow sticks up high in this large old tree. Like 2 to 3 stories up there. I thought I was crazy or seeing things.
    I had no inclination of what this could be. I have never heard of this phenomenon or anyone I have asked heard or saw anything like this. I assumed maybe a squirrel found a kids glow stick and thought it was cool took up the tree? It has never been there before and none of the other trees around it has it. I have watched it every night. The green glowing spots move around, some nights in places the next night different places will glow. Sometimes they do seem to flicker at least some of them. The largest seems about like grapefruit in size from the ground, maybe a little larger. Other spots seem more like lines or smaller areas, some even being tips of end tiny branches. Its hard to tell from the ground. Some will glow really bright others medium to faint. At first it spooked me but after finding out what this is I feel like its now my special tree. I tell everyone and they look at me like I’m nuts. How common is this? No one Iver told has heard of this or seen it. I feel quite lucky we get to see such a thing. BTW we think it is some kind of old oak tree. Being from AZ I don’t know many trees here. Besides how common is this another question would be how long will it last? What kills it or makes it go away? Will it spread over the whole tree eventually?

  67. lisaPon 21 Dec 2015 at 10:33 am

    Another comment, Yes I cannot seem to get it on pictures like the others said. I have tried every camera I have and it doesn’t show up. Wish I could!

  68. amandaon 21 Dec 2015 at 11:15 pm

    In Colorado – 12/21/2015 …. warm day, super cold night….. super green, started fading, took my kids and went back and reddish pink started to appear in one spot – a few hours later after my bf got off of work I tried to show him, but it had disappeared as colder, below freezing weather set in

  69. Carolon 28 Dec 2015 at 3:48 pm

    We seen red, and green glowing areas all over our neighbors, and our trees, in MICHIGAN. Weird.

  70. Christopheron 29 Dec 2015 at 9:16 am

    We saw what we assume is this, but it was high up on the small branches of a living tree. Is that the same stuff?

  71. Kate St. Johnon 29 Dec 2015 at 9:33 am

    Christopher, it might be. The glow is from fungi and a variety of them can grow at any level.

  72. Pamelaon 29 Dec 2015 at 11:29 pm

    A few days ago I noticed this strange phenomenon in both of my pear trees! At first I thought some critters had crawled up the tree and we’re looking at me with their eyes glowing green! Kind of creeped me out! I walked with flashlight and my iPhone to see what was in the trees. It glowed from within the tree with no light shining on it! The green glow was scattered about both trees! The temp has been extremely warm, hovering around 70 to 80 and very wet for a few weeks. I took pictures with my iPhone and it really shows in the photos! Glad to know what I am seeing, but not happy that I could loose my two pear trees!

  73. Christopheron 30 Dec 2015 at 1:01 pm

    Than you, Kate St. John and Pamela, for sharing your knowledge and similar experiences. I guess it is pretty safe to assume that this is some sort of bioluminescent fungus rather than some X-Files-like phenomenon 🙂

  74. Margaritaon 12 Jan 2016 at 7:20 pm

    I was so pleased to have found this site. I am in Australia, 80 kms SW of Sydney CBD in a rural area. We have a long stand of old pine trees along our front boundary.
    My husband returned from work 2 nights ago at around 11pm and noticed numerous green glowing patches over the bark of one of the trees.
    He showed me the following night. Some had disappeared but there were many more dotted throughout the whole stand. They were not isolated to just our pine trees. As we gazed across our lane, we noticed many in a neighbour’s deciduous liquid ambers.
    Such a beautiful and mysterious sight which we now know the cause of. Thank you!

  75. Debbieon 01 Feb 2016 at 8:54 am

    We got up this morning to our firewood in front of our stove glowing. My guy was very excited. He saw this when he was 11. He is 74 now. He woke our 11 year old to show him. We live in Packwood WA. Amazing phenomenon!

  76. Debbieon 01 Feb 2016 at 8:57 am

    I also went to the woodpile on the porch and it to was aglow! Thank you for the explanation!

  77. Samon 13 Mar 2016 at 8:25 pm

    Last night roughly 1030 pm. We live in upstate New York. Roughly 60 miles north of the city. I saw a tree glowing a lime green kind of color.. I saw the happen once before but about a year ago and a different tree… Grabbed my dad out of bed and we walked over and just watched this glowing tree. Good to know I wasn’t just having a green glitch with my eyes ?. Cool stuff tho

  78. Christinaon 25 Mar 2016 at 2:57 am

    I have seen foxfire!
    It is beautiful and haunting!

  79. Trevon 28 May 2016 at 1:38 am

    This is a phenomenon I’ve seen many times. My first encounter was when I lived in Creuse a department of the Limousin district of France. The area is heavily wooded and has no heavy industry and mostly no light pollution. We had a smallholding and were pretty self-sufficient, including all our firewood. I would regularly spot ‘firefox’ on my stacked wood after a day’s wood cutting. I might have inadvertently picked up some decaying wood from the forest floor along with new wood from a tree I had felled.
    I now live in rural Wales, UK, and have been collecting firewood from a local wooded area. I went down last night just for a walk. It was a particularly dark night and there it was again in a small glade were there is a lot of decaying wood laying on the floor.
    It is wonderful but I find a little disconcerting. When I first saw it my first reaction was, ‘is it radioactive!’, but an Internet search put my mind at rest. Now I feel privaliged whenever I spot it.

  80. Lorion 05 Jun 2016 at 3:42 pm

    I see it in my neighbors trees all over and intense that are still alive and in a city! In Iowa!

  81. Adamon 14 Jun 2016 at 3:42 am

    I was just looking this up because i seen some but it didn’t look like all these pics on the internet. I live in northwest Arkansas and i seen it by a river bed when i was camping it was around 2 in the morning and i was sitting on a dead log and when i looked down i seen a really dim light at first i thought it was glow in the dark paint but i started picking at it but more and more just kept falling out of the dead log the deeper i picked at it……it was the craziest thing i ever seen. Almost didnt believe it….

  82. Jazon 03 Jul 2016 at 3:58 pm

    In Dahlonega Georgia me and my buddy saw alot of firefox on his property.

  83. Aaronon 22 Jul 2016 at 12:57 am

    I live in central Michigan about 30 minutes north of grandrapinds i have noticed it happens more when there is a dead stump and I chop it up the peices glow at night, it’s happened every time I’ve done it, but it’s been a very wet summer

  84. Donnaon 14 Aug 2016 at 11:32 pm

    My husband cut up a dead tree that had fallen in our backyard. He had it leaning against our firepit and we noticed the glow. It’s really amazing!!

  85. Donnaon 14 Aug 2016 at 11:33 pm

    We’re in Northeast Pa

  86. Janon 20 Aug 2016 at 11:17 pm

    I grew up in north central Pa . Early fall would see it everywhere in the woods. We called it ghost poop. Can’t seem to find any good internet pics

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