Amanita muscaria (L.: Fr.) Lam. 1783
Common names: Fly agaric, fly Amanita [En], Amanite tue-mouches, Fausse oronge [Fr], Vliegenzwam [Nl], Fliegenpilz [De], Matamoscas, Ovolo malefico [It], Falsa oronja [Es], Αμανίτης Μυγοκτόνος [Gr], Sinek mantarı [Tu]
Meise, BRABANT ● Belgium
Taxonomy: The name of the mushroom in many European languages is thought to have been derived from the fact that it was used as an insecticide, when sprinkled in milk. This practice has been recorded from Germanic- and Slavic-speaking parts of Europe, as well as the Vosges region and pockets elsewhere in France, and Romania. Carl Linnaeus officially described it in Volume Two of his Species Plantarum in 1753, giving it the name Agaricus muscarius, the specific epithet deriving from Latin musca meaning "fly". It gained its current name in 1783, when placed in the genus Amanita by Jean-Baptiste Lamarck and sanctioned by Elias Magnus Fries.
Description: Fly agaric fruiting bodies emerge from the soil looking like a white egg, covered in the white warty material of the universal veil. As the fungus grows, the red color appears through the broken veil and the warts become less prominent; they do not change in size but are reduced relative to the expanding skin area. The cap changes from globose to hemispherical, and finally to plate-like and flat in mature specimens. Fully grown, the bright red cap is usually around 8–20 cm (3–8 in) in diameter, although larger specimens have been found. The red color may fade after rain and in older mushrooms. After emerging from the ground, the cap is covered with numerous small white to yellow pyramid-shaped warts. These are remnants of the universal veil, a membrane that encloses the entire mushroom when it is still very young. The free gills are white, as is the spore print. The oval spores measure 9–13 by 6.5–9 μm, and are non-amyloid, that is, they do not turn blue with the application of iodine. The stipe is white, 5–20 cm high (2–8 in) by 1–2 cm (0.4–0.8 in) wide, and has the slightly brittle, fibrous texture typical of many large mushrooms. At the base is a bulb that bears universal veil remnants in the form of two to four distinct rings or ruffs. Between the basal universal veil remnants and gills are remnants of the partial veil (which covers the gills during development) in the form of a white ring. It can be quite wide and flaccid with age. There is generally no associated smell other than a mild earthiness.
Amanita muscaria varies considerably in its morphology and many authorities recognize a number of subspecies or varieties within the species.
Contemporary authorities recognize up to seven varieties:
• var. muscaria, the typical red-and-white spotted variety (Eurasian and western Alaskan populations)
• var. flavivolvata is red, with yellow to yellowish-white warts, and occurs (Western regions of the North American continent).
• var. alba, an uncommon fungus, has a white to silvery white cap with white warts but otherwise similar to the usual form.
• var. formosa, has a yellow to orange-yellow cap with yellowish or tan warts and stem.
• var. guessowii has a yellow cap surface (North America)
• var. persicina is pinkish to orangish "melon" colored with poorly formed or absent remnants of universal veil on the stem and vasal bulb (Southeastern Coastal areas of the U.S.A.)
• var. regalis is liver-brown and has yellow warts (Scandinavia and Alaska).
Biology : This large conspicuous mushroom is generally common and numerous where it grows, and is often found in groups with basidiocarps in all stages of development. Though generally encountered in autumn, the season can vary in different climates. It is often found in similar locations to Boletus edulis, and may appear in fairy rings.
Habitat: Ectomycorrhizal, Amanita muscaria forms symbiotic relationships with a wide variety of trees, including pine, spruce, fir, birch, and cedar.
Distribution: 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 sy:imbiont with pine plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species.
Caution: a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Amanita muscaria contains a number of biologically active agents, at least two of which, muscimol and ibotenic acid, are known to be psychoactive.
Fly agarics are known for the unpredictability of their effects. Depending on habitat and the amount ingested per body weight, effects can range from nausea and twitching to drowsiness, cholinergic crisis-like effects (low blood pressure, sweating and salivation), auditory and visual distortions, mood changes, euphoria, relaxation, ataxia, and loss of equilibrium.
In cases of serious poisoning it causes a delirium, similar in effect to anticholinergic poisoning it is characterized by bouts of marked agitation with confusion, hallucinations, and irritability followed by periods of central nervous system depression. Seizures and coma may also occur in severe poisonings. Serious cases may develop loss of consciousness or coma, and may necessitate intubation and artificial ventilation.
Wikipedia, Amanita muscaria