Also known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, this mushroom is most well known for being the inspiration for the iconic mushroom in the Mario video game series. It is also used as an iconic mushroom in other fairy tales as well. So what can we learn about this iconic and fascinating mushroom?
Physical Description and Behavior
These mushrooms can be up to 8 inches tall and several inches wide. They are known for their white stalk and red bulb which is dotted in white spots. This red color is known to fade in the rain, or as the mushroom becomes older.
One thing that you need to understand is that this mushroom is toxic, as well as has psychedelic properties. This would certainly make the Mario games make a lot more sense. Parboiling this mushroom twice and draining the water allows it to be ingested, as it is in many parts of the world. But there are far safer mushrooms to consume, so why take the chance?
It is also often used as a fly trap as well. This is probably due to the content of ibotenic acid and muscimol. Filling the bottom or the top of the mushroom is milk or water causes these to dissolve, making a natural poison that the flies drink before dying. It is unclear if these flies die experiencing the strongest acid trip ever.
Habitat and Location
This mushroom is native to conifer and deciduous woodlands. However, it has been introduced to all areas of the world, such as New Zealand, Australia, South America, and even South Africa. While it is considered more of a pest in New Zealand, in Australia it can be harmful as it overtakes native mushroom species.
You should also check out this time lapse footage!