Fly Agaric

The Fly Agaric or Aminita muscaria is a mushroom with a rich history.

The Fly Agaric gets it common name from farmers putting them in milk or water to induce a stupor to the flies that consumed the liquid. It is in the Amanita family along with some deadly poisonous mushrooms like the Death Cap, (Amanita phalloids), and the Destroying or Death Angel(Amanita ocreata).

They are fairly common and fun to find. Until I started finding them, I thought they only existed in fairy tales and kitchen decor.

They are the most used image in mushrooms, but most people think they are mythical!

This mushroom also has the most written about it of any mushroom I have researched. Mushroom identification books list it as anything from edible to poisonous. There are stories of Siberians using it for rituals, to likening the colors of Santa clause and Christmas to the famous mushroom. I surely would not eat this mushroom, and do not recommend it to anyone. The poisonous varieties of the Amanita family cause painful deaths as they attack and destroy the liver.

There is plenty to read about this mushroom and plenty of opinions. I just like to find it in the woods as there is a kind of mystical appeal to it. I have found them growing in a circle ranging in size from little unopened buttons to saucer sized caps. When they are large, they are hard to miss! Anytime I find one kind of mushroom, I know the conditions are right for other types.

5 thoughts on “Fly Agaric”

  1. Hi Dean,

    After doing a workshop with David Arora last fall I learned that you can safely eat Amanita Muscaria and it’s actually quite delicious! It just needs to be prepared correctly… First, the mushrooms must be boiled in salt water for 7-10 minutes, then pour out the water, replacing it with fresh salt water and boiling the mushrooms for another 7-10 minutes. This removes all of the toxins first. Next, you can cook them as you like, frying them in butter or however you prefer….

    Thanks for all of your great info and photos on Montana mushrooms!

  2. Hi Trish,
    I had heard that they were edible. There are a few edibles in the Amanita family, but most people would be wise to avoid them. Amanita has some deadly members in her family. Experts only…thank you for the information. I really enjoy all of the history behind this mushroom!

  3. BTW, I am jealous that you got to meet David Arora. I have read his books so much, I feel like I know him! Way to go!

  4. Has any one noticed the recent boom in this mushrooms popularity? I have not eaten it personally BC of the horror stories you speak of. It just doesn’t seem worth risking it when there are plenty of other fungi to try that are safe. These web sites a sell it are passing it off as ‘magic’ scary thought. Do the psychotropic effects remain after boiling??

  5. Hello,
    Yes I have noticed the increase in the popularity of the Amanita Muscaria! It is a beautiful shroom and I think people are excited to know that it actually exists. The boiling seems to reduce the toxicity of this mushroom. I am with you…don’t need to experiment with the unknown and there is plenty of edibles out there that we know are safe to eat! I heard the hang over is not worth it!

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