By: Blonde Two

I do love a mushroom but may be a bit naive in the fungi stakes.  I don’t know which ones (other than those in plastic containers) you can eat, I have no idea which ones are magic and for much of my adult life, I thought that the red and white Fairy ones were made up (round here it is best to be polite to the little folk, hence the capital letter).

Imagine my excitement when I managed to get a photo of this little chap up at Deeper Marsh this weekend.Fly Agaric Deeper Marsh

Luckily Blonde One and Ranger Bill were with me and were able to tell me “Fairy Toadstool’s” real name.  It is not very romantic however, to be called Fly Agaric; Amanita Muscaria is a bit better but both (I have done some research) relate to the word “fly”. There appears to be some confusion about the reasons for this but in more than one country Amanita Muscaria has been used as an insecticide.

The “Fairy Toadstool” loves woodland, in particular, the roots of birch and pine trees.  This is no surprise to me because Fairies love woodland too.  Fungi can grow in almost any environment on earth including sea water and your skin (sorry to get personal). The association between trees and fungi is a symbiotic one (if you don’t understand symbiotic, think of the Two Blondes).  The trees give the fungi the sugars that they need to grow and in return the fungi give the trees a good time (I feel the need to indicate to you that the last three words were a joke, this need to indicate is not a sign of a good joke.)  In actual fact, the fungi give the trees nutrients, especially phosphorus, and water.

The Fly Agaric has halucinogenic properties but can also give you violent stomach cramps and put you into a coma-like sleep.  They are basically very bad for you so best avoid any contact with yourself or your pets.  The hallucinogens though may be part of the reason that we associate these beautiful fungi with Fairies … a definite possibility I would say.