Evoking childhood memories of the fairy tales that my father read to his clan of young children, I'm convinced these are the "toadstools" under which elves and fairies took shelter, on the pages of my childhood books, in rainy weather. Weather much like we're experiencing right now. Beginning in November when the first rains fall, one can see these growing in large numbers under pine trees along the 101 freeway, which is where I took these photos yesterday.
Are they poisonous or are they edible? According to my Googled sources, Amanita muscaria are either quite poisonous, hallucinogenic, or both, while another source says they are edible. Given the amount of information that can be found regarding their poisonous properties, you will never find these in my kitchen.
The top photo is of a young one; barely emerging from the pine duff, it's covered in a powdery yellow sac that separates into the "warts" as the fungus grows and expands.
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