The fly agaric is the pretty red mushroom with white dots both used in cartoons - especially Snow White - and comics, but that is not part of the most popular mushrooms most popular because it is extremely toxic its hallucinogenic effects! The fly agaric (Amanita muscaria) of the family Amanitaceae, also called false oronge, takes its name from the violent insecticidal power that can be derived from flies, from a preparation based on the chopped mushroom.
How to recognize fly agaric?
The fly agaric is found mainly on acid soils, under hardwoods (especially birch...), and under conifers (spruce, pine...) or on the edge of these woods. It is often heralding future Bordeaux ceps as it grows in the same places, from late summer to late autumn.
It is particularly picturesque with its red-orange hat dotted with small white flakes, which can reach 15 to 20 cm in diameter, composed of free blades, tight and very white. The foot, which measures up to 20 to 25 cm high, is white with a well formed ring and, at the base, an onion bulb marked with small raised white warts which can also be at the edge of the ring.
On the hat, the flakes can be more or less yellowish and sometimes even disappear after a heavy rain.
The white flesh does not emit a particular odor.
What mushrooms can look like fly agaric?
In spite of its pretty colors and its originality, the fly agaric, toxic, can nevertheless be confused with other mushrooms like the amanita of Caesars (Amanita caesarea). It is distinguished by its blades, foot and ring which are yellow-orange, and its large white volve bag in the base of the foot. Generally, in addition, she does not have flakes on her uniform bright orange hat, and she rarely grows under the pines. It is an excellent edible unlike fly agaric!
To avoid finding yourself in second states, if you are not sure of the edibility of your picking, always ask the advice of a mycologist pharmacist.
The toxicity of fly agaricus
The fly agaric contains an alkaloid, muscimole, which makes the fungus poisonous. It is then akin to a drug, also used as such in some parts of the world or by shamans with particularly extreme esoteric rites. After the consumption of this mushroom, the person finds himself in a state close to that of drunkenness which is prolonged by a depressing "descent" alternating hallucinations and hilarious delusions, before the person starts to sleep.
The fly agaric is not lethal however the toxic and hallucinogenic effects can be variable from one person to another and from one mushroom to another, but always with serious risks for health including psychological and mental.