Fly Agaric

Scientific Name: 

Amanita muscaria

Synonyms: 

Usually instantly recognisable! Unless rain washes the 'spots' the remains of the veil off the cap and turns it more orange - then it can cause some confusion and needs to be backed up with a look at the base of the stem, which typically is swollen and may show remnants of veil but not a true bag or volva, plus remnants of veil on the top third of the stem. 

Colours

Confusion Species: 

Height: 

Cap Diameter (mm): 

50-200

Cap or Bracket Thickness (mm): 

Oct-15

Stem Height (mm): 

80-180

Stem Diameter (mm): 

Oct-20

Distribution: 

Common and widely recognised.

Habitat: 

Most typically heathland with birches: substrate most often acidic but can occur on calcareous soils when covered by enough peat!

Micro Habitat: 

Cap: 

Scarlet to pale orange with large white loose scales of the veil.

Flesh: 

Flesh is tinged red/orange/yellow below the cap cuticle. Pleasant tasting with no distinctive smell

Gills: 

Free. White in colour.

Spores: 

9.5- 10.5 x 7 - 8 Microns in size. White in colour. Broadly ovate; nonamyloid

Stem: 

Cylindric with bulbous base. Sometimes tinged red/orange. Large membranous ring.

Did You Know?: 

Additional Notes: 

The best known toadstool, often illustrated in children's books. Only fatal if ingested in massive amounts but the presence of muscimol causes psychotropic poisoning similar to alcoholic intoxication, and can lead to coma in extreme circumstances. Subject of much ancient mythology and said to be used by the 'Soma' of Hinduism. It was once used in Scandinavia for religious purposes but is now used for herding reindeer, the Vikings were reputed to consume large quantities of fly agarics so as to send them into a state of madness, they were known as the berserkers. The Siberian tribes of northeast Siberia still to this date use the fly agaric mushroom in their shamanic rituals, as do a few Native American tribes. The modern day Santa with all the red and white, flying reindeers, etc., etc. have strong similarities with the fly agaric... even the coming down a chimney part.

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