Professor Dennis Desjardin is a well-named man. The San Francisco State mushroom specialist's handle, translated from French, literally means “of the garden.” Earn a Ph.D in botany and people do point this out.
“I thought of changing it to 'De La Merde' — 'of the shit,'” says the professor. “You know, people always comment how mushrooms are growing out of crap.”
Desjardin, thankfully, has not seen fit to rechristen himself. But he has thought up names for the more than 200 mushroom species he's discovered. And the source of the name for a pair of the latest 'shroom species he unearthed is about as far from the earthiness of scatological humor as you can get.
The SFSU prof and four colleagues this week published a paper on seven luminous mushroom species in the journal Mycologia. Desjardin personally named a pair of those species — Mycena luxaeterna (eternal light) and
Mycena luxperpetua (perpetual light) — after inspiring Latin lyrics in Mozart's famous requiem.