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Are You Seeing Amanitas?

Thursday, September 29, 2011

 I am. I'm seeing them everywhere I see pines.  The classic "toadstool," this is the Fly Amanita, Amanita muscaria var. guessowii. (The varietal name refers to the fact that these are yellow, not red, as is the classic Fly Amanita.)

The name Fly Amanita refers to the fact that in Eastern Europe it was used as an insecticide, supposedly lethal to flies, when powdered and mixed with milk.
Why anybody would want to spray milk mixed with poisonous mushrooms around is anyone's guess. I think I'd rather have flies. Here, let's spray some milk with poisonous mushrooms on the kitchen window, where the flies gather.


Each September, I enjoy watching them push up through the pine needles under white pines. This year, for the first year, they're coming up under our Virginia pines, too. I mow around them.


Such a beautiful huge mushroom! Can you imagine eating something like this? Apparently, having psychoactive compounds, it was (is) used as a hallucinogen in Siberia. They must be hard up for a rush in Siberia. I wouldn't eat them on a dare. But then I don't go around swilling vodka, either.


These are growing on an abandoned homestead only a couple of miles from my home. I used to buy brown eggs from the lady who lived there, and I used to talk to her husband as he mowed the fields nearby. Both are gone now. She told my neighbor after her husband died that he came in from working in the fields, sat down in his chair, and "his heart blew up." She was another ten years or so behind him, struggling to keep the cattle and always out working in the garden, buff Orpingtons clucking around the fenced area under the pines.  Their farm went to auction, but I don't know who bought it.



 We'll see if they're the kind to mow around mushrooms.

Thank you, everyone, for all the kind and lovely comments on "Requiem for a Black Snake." For the beautiful Mary Oliver poem, for your stories and your electronic hugs. I felt them. Now I'm going to give you one back. Over at PureFlorida, that crazy FloridaCracker has gotten hisself a captive-bred Florida kingsnake and named her Zick. And here she is having dinner. Kind of helps balance out the bad snake juju going around, to have him out there, naming a beautiful little jewel after me. Although I admit it is a bit unnerving to see my namesake massaging the nether regions of a pinky mouse.


13 comments:

Wow, what a cool mushroom! I've never seen an actual fly amanita before. I love that yellow!

Pretty.
I'm too Buff Orpington to ever eat a wild mushroom, Mya, who owns the Chinese restaurant in town passes me fresh shitake's from her shroom farm when I get take out.
Thought of you today when NPR did a story on PawPaws.
Seemed to me you could have done it better.

Toadstools galore 4 sure- HEY quick qstn Could I have seen 3 sandhill cranes in eastern Licking county [western coshocton county today ? ? thanx Sheila Z

I'm new to your blog Julie, after seeing you at Midwest Birding. Love the mushrooms, in your pictures and on my land. In the last few years my fascination has blossomed into a near obsession with these little "fruiting bodies". They are fragile and ephemeral, yet always with us in a different form under the earth.

You reminded me of seeing and photographing some beautiful red mushrooms in an Arkansas forest. Thanks.

Been seeing these lovelies all over the place lately, but never so many in one place! It's been a banner year for mushrooms, hasn't it? I heard an expert on Science Friday a few weeks ago call the recent East coast conditions--rainy but also consistently humid--"Mushroom Nirvana." Last week I discovered a titillating abundance of dog stinkhorns beneath a grove of cedars on campus. Still, the amanitas are a perpetual favorite. (My boyfriend asked why they, and some other mushrooms, have that "granola" on the top. Any ideas?)

Oohh, you've never seen really, really bad flies. I would put DDT on my ice cream if I had really really bad flies. It's a quality of life issue. The Norse shock troops called berserkers (source of our word berserk) were said to whip themselves into a battle frenzy by ingesting Amanita muscaria. They were so nutzoid that they were actually outlawed in the 11th century (when a pretty much anything-goes attitude prevailed).

Posted by Anonymous October 1, 2011 at 8:37 AM

Aren't they pretty? I don't have the yellow ones..I have red ones and some nasty looking black ones. Huge things! I love seeing the little fairy rings of mushrooms sometimes in my yard around the woods.

As we are surrounded by pines, we certainly ARE seeing Amanitas! The kids were just admiring them in their pine "house" above the barn where they were burying their walnuts Sunday. We love them. I defintely need a guide, as every hike we find a new fungus that we love.

Hi, my name is Ronan, I am 10 years old, and I want to be a Mycologist when I grow up. The yellow fly amanita is my favorite, but I have never seen any in person. I really like your blog about amanitas. Thank you for putting in those those cool pictures.

Are amanitas a common sight in virginia? What part of Virginia are you in? County? I might have to make a trip over there and visit some family on the way.

Photographed some of the Fly Amanitias in my work shop which has some dampness around some concrete.

Chird Bobbitt in Searcy, AR 8 June 2014

Posted by Anonymous June 8, 2014 at 5:43 PM

Not an amanita muscaria are red not yellow,amanita velatipes,amanita regalis,

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