Sunday, November 18, 2007

Amanita muscaria

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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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Anonymous said...

They do look very intriguing but I think I would be very cautious too.

Shane Marie said...

These mushrooms are fascinating because they seem charming and deadly at once. An odd combination evoked from one object! Lovely pictures!
:) Shane

Christine said...

I think leaving them alone entirely is the order of the day, Anne.

Thanks Shane! It's so nice to hear from you.