24 April 2017

Toadstools With A Twist

Finally I found some red toadstools underneath the pine trees at Rabbit Island. It's another aspect of autumn I like. Toadstools, warm temperatures and colourful leaves.
After I surfed the internet to find the name of these toadstools I discovered they have a few interesting facts.

These toadstools/mushrooms belong to the genus 'Amanita Muscaria' and are commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita. The name 'fly agaric' comes from the medieval times when they were ground up and mixed with milk. This mixture made a sweet smell which attracted flies. Once the flies drunk the milk containing 'fly agaric' they'd become intoxicated and drown.

The fly agaric's bright red, coloured cap acts as a warning to animals that this mushroom is poisonous. Although it's classified as being poisonous, it is eaten in parts of Europe, Asia and North America (after it has been parboiled). Parboiling weakens its toxicity and breaks down its psychoactive substance.

The indigenous people of Siberia used this toadstool as a spiritual experience. It has a religious significance in the Siberian and Indian cultures.

In some countries (such as The Netherlands) it is considered a criminal offence to be in possession of these toadstools. They are noted for their hallucinogenic properties. It's been calculated that 15 mushroom caps could be a fatal dose.

Amanita mascara are associated with various deciduous and coniferous trees. They have an interdependent relationship with pine and birch trees. The toadstools provide the tree with an increased absorption of water and minerals and in return the tree provides constant access to carbohydrates.

It seems, although these toadstools have appeared in fairy tales for years, there is a slightly sinister side to them. But if all we do is admire them for their beauty and refrain from nibbling on any - no harm will be done.

Reflections at Rabbit Island

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