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Archive for July 6, 2011

Amanita muscaria

Mushrooms in the genus Amanita typically have “warts” on their cap, a sturdy ring around their stem, and a distinctive stem base that is quite shaggy.  They can grow to be quite large — up to a foot high with caps as big as dinner plates. This genus includes about 600 species, some of which are edible, but some of which are the most toxic mushrooms in the world. Amanitas are responsible for approximately 95% of the fatalities resulting from mushroom poisoning.  Amanita muscaria (pictured)   is commonly known as the fly Amanita, because in some regions little pieces of the mushroom are placed in milk to attract flies.  The flies supposedly become inebriated and crash into the walls and die.  This species is poisonous and has hallucinogenic properties.  It often has a red cap, but this yellow-capped variety is more common in New England. CAUTION: DO NOT EAT ANY AMANITAS.  Edible and poisonous species are too similar!