Not All Wild Mushrooms Should Be Eaten

The title should go without saying, but it is amazing what some people will eat. There are many wonderful tasting wild mushrooms in the world and there are relatively few deadly ones. However, even discounting the deadly mushrooms, not all mushrooms are truly suitable for eating, even when they are in some cultures. Such is the case of a mushroom with the scientific name of Amanita muscaria. This mushroom, also known as fly agaric, is quite common in forested areas of the temperate northern hemisphere, both in the old world and in the new world. It has also been introduced to some areas in the southern hemisphere, including South America, Africa and Australia. Images and depictions of this mushroom are also probably the most used in folk tales, fairy tales and the like. This is the classic “toadstool”, though it has little to do with toads and it is unlikely that toads use these mushrooms to sit upon except in artist depictions. Muscaria is classed as a poisonous mushroom, though it isn’t considered a deadly one and poisoning from this kind of mushroom is rare. This is partly due to the fact that cooking this mushroom destroys much of the toxins it contains. However, it is a hallucinogenic mushroom and some cultures have used it in religious ceremonies. The hallucinogenic substance it contains is muscimol, which also breaks down as it is heated. Fly agaric is easily recognizable. The cap ranges from red to orange, brown, yellow or pink and Continue Reading →

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