The Amanita Muscaria in spring
The Amanita Muscaria
The Amanita Muscariacommonly known as the fly agaric, is a poisonous and psycho active basidiomycete fungus. However, the amount and ratio of chemical compounds per mushroom varies widely from region to region and season to season, which further confuses the issue. Spring and summer mushrooms have been reported to contain up to 10 times as much ‘ibotenic acid’ and ‘muscimol’ (the psychoactive compounds) compared to autumn fruitings. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally introduced to many countries in the southern hemisphere.
Although it is generally considered poisonous, deaths from its consumption are extremely rare, and it is eaten as a food in parts of Europe, Asia, and North America after boiling.
Amanita muscaria is now primarily famed for its hallucinogenic properties. It was used as an intoxicant by the peoples of Siberia and has a religious significance in these cultures. In Lapland for instance, one fully grown agaric, could be traded for an entire reindeer.