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Yellow Orange Fly Agarics Fruiting

The Yellow Orange Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria var. formosa) is common in New England, especially where conifers grow.  Out West this mushroom is often a bright red color, but in the East it’s typically orange/yellow. 

When certain gilled mushrooms, including many Amanita species, first form they are encased in a membrane called a “universal veil.”  As the mushroom enlarges and matures, the veil ruptures, with remnants of it remaining on the mushroom’s cap.  Fly Agaric fungi got their name from the custom of placing little pieces of the mushroom in milk to attract flies.  The flies supposedly become inebriated and crash into walls and die.  This mushroom is somewhat poisonous (as are many Amanita species) and hallucinogenic when consumed by humans.  The toxins affect the part of the brain that is responsible for fear, turning off the fear emotion.  Vikings, who had a reputation for fierceness, are said to have ingested this mushroom prior to invading a village.

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2 responses

  1. I love the sequence illustrated in this photo. I have a forthcoming book of poems, including one called “Amanita Muscaria.” Here are a couple of stanzas from that poem:

    Swaddled in the universal veil,
    it pushes a blunt fontanelle into the light
    which is no midwife, has nothing to do
    with this force issuing from the underground
    conspiracy of root, soil, and hypha,
    this sudden eruption of flesh
    asserting itself, expanding,
    swaddled in the universal veil.

    The slow crescendo of flesh and water
    that erects the stipe ruptures the creamy membrane
    to remnants clinging modestly,
    a ragged lingerie for this organ of the earth.
    Beneath the speckled yellow cap, the gills,
    pallid and moist, await the flare of opening,
    the ravishing touch of air that follows
    the slow crescendo of flesh and water.

    October 3, 2022 at 9:01 am

  2. Alice

    Kathie, above, already wrote it…it’s a wonderful photo with the three growth stages of this Agaric. We have many, in a meadow, behind us…and lots of pine trees…I think the speckles look like sesame seeds. Every day they look different. Interesting history.

    October 3, 2022 at 9:28 am

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