The Re-Discovery of Cornish Glimmerwort

The Cornish Glimmerwort was thought to have been extinct from the early eighteenth century, but it has just been found alive and well in the Rosventon fogou near St Meriot. Growing in dark places, it is unique in that it emits a dull greenish glow. It was used by early Cornish miners who would keep a handful of it in a pocket in case their lamp failed: not surprisingly, the plant or more correctly, the lichen became very scarce. Its luminescence is believed to be due to its ability to take up phosphorous from naturally-occurring deposits, thus obviating the need for daylight which lichens normally require.
In days gone by it was also used to decorate tables at feast time, and a sprig is to be sent to the Duke and Duchess of Cornwall in time for Easter. This ancient lichen will now be grown on in various secret locations and (click for more...)