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Amanita muscariaFly Agaric

By Leanne Downs9 September 2019

Fly Agaric or Amanita muscaria is famous for its bright red and white spotted cap, commonly depicted throughout popular culture, such as in the game ‘Super Mario’ and in ‘Alice in Wonderland’. It also is widely featured in prints and fabric patterns and as a result it is widely recognisable.

Where can I see Fly Agaric?

Fly Agaric is common all over the UK from late summer to early winter. You’ll most likely spot it in woodland or habitats where there are birch, spruce or pine trees. It forms mutually beneficial relationships with these trees, especially with birch.

How to identify Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric is easily recognisable in it’s older stages due to its brightly coloured red or orange cap and white ‘spots’, however these can sometimes wash off in the rain, as they are actually remnants from the white covering the mushroom has when very young. It could be confused with ‘The Blusher’ mushroom or Amanita rubescens which is similar in appearance but tends to be more brown than red.

Its cap grows up to 20cm in diameter, being more rounded when young and then flattening. When they first appear, they are white and egg like, with a textured surface. It has white gills and a white stem, usually with ‘ruff’ around it.

Uses for Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric is considered inedible and poisonous. Historically however, it has been used for medicinal purposes and for cultural and religious purposes due to its hallucinogenic properties. It has also been used to make insecticide as it contains chemicals that attract and kill flies.

Leanne Downs

About Leanne Downs

Leanne Downs is the content editor for Thryve and works as an outdoor writer, blogger and photographer. She loves hiking, hillwalking and wild camping.

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