Glowing Plants – Old and New

Q: Is there any plant that has fluorescent and/or phosphorescent properties?

A: Hunters have long known of “foxfire”, the glowing tree stumps caused by decay organisms. Likewise, visitors to Hawaii gasp at the glowing blue waves caused by phytoplankton. Certain cave fungi glow in darkness. The drug quinine can be used to water plants and they will glow under ultraviolet light as a result. The latest luminous plant effort is glowingplant.com, which received $480,000 from a Kickstarter campaign to develop seeds for glow-in-the-dark plants. On the other hand, a Kickstopper effort has been organized to prevent these transgenic seeds from being distributed. Perhaps we’ll have glowing trees lighting our streets before we know it!