Fly Agaric - Amanita muscaria

Main features

  • Fruits Summer to Autumn

  • Grows in woodland with deciduous and coniferous trees

  • Can be found as individual fruits or groups

  • No smell

  • Cap orange to red

  • Bright white volval remnants on the cap 

  • Cap starts off dome-shaped and flattens with width of 10 - 20cm

  • Sturdy white stem up to 25cm and and 1.5 - 2cm in diameter

  • Has a floppy ring with striations on its upper surface

  • Stem has a swollen base 

  • Volval sack remnants at base of stem only visible in very young specimens

  • Volval sack remnants at stem look like scales in older specimens

  • Flesh is white

  • The crowded and free gills are white, yellowing with age

  • Spore print is white

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Fly Agaric - Amanita muscaria

Poisonous mushroom - novice identification

Other common names: Fly Amanita

 

Scientific name meaning: Amanita originates from the Greek Amanitai, which is though to mean "of the Amanus", which is a range of mountains in Turkey.  Muscaria is from the Latin Musca, meaning fly (insect)

Season - when will I find it? From Summer to Autumn
 

Habitat - where will I find it? Fly Agaric grows in association with deciduous and coniferous trees, especially Pine, Spruce, Oak and Birch

Description - what does it look like? 

Growth: Fly Agaric is a mycorrhizal fungi growing in association with different trees. Fruits are often found individually, but can also be found in sometimes large groups 

It begins growing in an egg-like sac called a volva, or universal veil

Cap: The caps of Fly Agaric range fare usually orange or red, there are also brown and white variants. They can reach between 10cm and 20cm, are domed at first and eventually flatten out. Sometimes they become concave

Bright white fragments of the veil/volva remain on the cap, though these can be washed away in heavy rain

Gills: The white gills are crowded and free. As the mushroom ages, the gills begin to yellow

Flesh: White

Stem: Sturdy and white in colour, the stem can reach 10 to 25cm tall, and is 1.5-2cm wide. It has a large floppy stem ring, or skirt, which has striations on the upper surface. The ring is often ragged.

The base of the stem is swollen. In younger specimens the remains of the volval sack can be seen. As it ages, the sack remnants look more like scales

Smell: None

Spore colour: White

Possible lookalikes Could be confused with redder specimens of Blusher (Amanita rubescens). However, The Blusher's flesh bruises pink when damages, and its veil remnants are dirty grey rather than bright white.

Specimens whose veil remnants have washed away may be confused with some red Russula, but these do not have swollen bases or rings/skirts 

Poisonous parts All parts of this mushroom are poisonous

Use in herbal medicine Has been used to treat skin diseases, joint diseases, fungal infections, fatigue, rheumatism, and lung diseases. Also believed to be an antihistamine. Currently being researched into its use in the treatment of cancer and dementia.

This mushroom is poisonous, do not consume

If you are suffering from any ailment or need medical advice, please see your General Practitioner

Hazards This mushroom is poisonous and can cause hallucinations and coma if consumed

 

Other uses Can be used as an insecticide. Broken up pieces in milk release ibotenic acid, which attracts and kills flies

Importance to other species Provides food for slugs

Always stay safe when foraging. You need to be 100% sure of your identification, 100% sure that your foraged item is edible, and 100% sure that you are not allergic to it (it is good practice to always try a small amount of any new food you are consuming). If in doubt, leave it out!

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