The Fly Agaric - Amanita Muscaria

The Amanita Muscaria or Fly Agaric must be one of the most easily identified mushrooms found in Irish woodlands. The bright red cap emerges from a cream coloured sheath leaving the pyramid shaped warts we see on the top. These may get washed off by the rain but either way, these mushrooms are really distinctive.

They are very common, found usually under birch trees but I've seen them under spruce in my local woodlands. They appear late summer to autumn and always in groups.

The Fly Agaric gets its name from medieval times when saucers of broken mushrooms soaked in milk were used to stupefy flies. 

It is a strong hallucinogen and intoxicant and its use by the Sami of northern Scandinavia is well documented (see here

At least one death has been associated with the consumption of the Amanita Muscaria due to the instability of the compounds and the varying strenghts owing to position, growth pattern, time of year, method of cooking and the subjects state of mind. 

I have to cover my flush of Fly Agarics this  to protect from all the deer, squirrels and rabbits that razed the lot last year.

In my opinion this mushroom should be appreciated in the field rather than on the plate!

Here is a link to some spore prints.


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