Saturday, 3 October 2015

Fungi Time

It's that time of the year again. Fungi of all types are beginning to send up their fruiting bodies above ground level and among the best of these have to be the Fly Agarics.
There can be no more iconic toadstool than this. The bright red cap, dotted with white spots has to be the most easily recognised of all fungi.
Unknown to me at the time, I caught a Leopard Slug in these photos as it slimed its way around the base of the toadstool.
The Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) is most often associated with Birch trees - as indeed it was here. The flesh contains various psychoactive substances and is classed as poisonous, although deaths are very rare, even when they've been ingested. The main hallucinogenic substance found in the Fly Agaric is a thing called Muscimol (or sometimes Agarin) and as little as 1g of dried mushroom has been enough to have an effect.
In more Northern parts, Reindeer have been known to accidentally eat small quantities of Fly Agaric as they graze on various lichens. The resulting 'drunken appearance and behaviour' of the poor animals is said to be quite comical!
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