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Fly Agaric
File:2006-10-25 Amanita muscaria crop.png
Showing three stages as the mushroom expands
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Fungus
Class: Basidiomycetes
Subclass: Agaricomycetidae
Order: Agaricales
Family: Amanitaceae
Genus: Amanita
Species: A. muscaria
Binomial name
Amanita muscaria
(L.) Lam. (1783)
Amanita muscaria
Mycological characteristics
32px gills on hymenium
32px 32px

cap is flat

or convex
32px hymenium is free
32px stipe has a ring and volva
32px spore print is white
32px ecology is mycorrhizal
32px 32px

edibility: poisonous

or psychoactive

Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, is a mushroom and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally introduced to many countries in the Southern Hemisphere, generally as a symbiont with pine plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species. It associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees.

The quintessential toadstool, it is a large white-gilled, white-spotted, usually red mushroom, one of the most recognisable and widely encountered in popular culture. Several subspecies with differing cap colour have been recognised, including the brown regalis (often considered a separate species), the yellow-orange flavivolvata, guessowii, formosa, and the pinkish persicina. Genetic studies published in 2006 and 2008 show several sharply delineated clades that may represent separate species.

Although it is generally considered poisonous, reports of human deaths resulting from eating the mushroom are extremely rare. After parboiling—which removes the mushroom's psychoactive substances—it is eaten in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America. Amanita muscaria is noted for its hallucinogenic properties, with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. The mushroom was used as an intoxicant and entheogen by the peoples of Siberia, and has a religious significance in these cultures. There has been much speculation on possible traditional use of this mushroom as an intoxicant in places other than Siberia, such as the Middle East, India, Eurasia, North America, and Scandinavia. The American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson proposed that the fly agaric was the soma of the ancient Rig Veda texts of India; since its introduction in 1968, this theory has gained both followers and detractors in anthropological literature.[1] The Dead Sea Scrolls scholar John Marco Allegro also proposed that early Christianity sprang from cultic use of the fly agaric in Second Temple Judaism, and that the mushroom itself was used by the Essenes as an allegory for Jesus Christ.[2]

Other names

Description

Similar species

Behaviour

Diet

Calls

Reproduction

Distribution/habitat

References

  1. ^ Furst, Peter T. (1976). Hallucinogens and Culture. Chandler & Sharp. pp. 96–108. ISBN 0-88316-517-1. 
  2. ^ http://psypressuk.com/2010/09/24/literary-review-the-sacred-mushroom-and-the-cross-by-john-m-allegro/

External links

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