The Amanita muscaria is that the classic toadstool of children's fairytales, unmistakable with its towering red cap covered with white flecks. it's widespread and customary, occurs throughout Ireland, Europe, and North America, and was introduced to Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa with pine trees imported from Europe.
Fly agaric appears Ireland between August and November and is usually related to acidic soil beneath birch and spruce trees, with which it forms a symbiotic relationship. Fungi are neither plant nor animal and belong to a separate group of their own. They cannot use sunlight to supply food, like plants, and instead acquire their nutrients from living or dead plants, animals, or other fungi.
The fungi's visible part is that the plant organ that seemingly appears out of thin air to supply and distribute the fungi's spores. Beneath the plant organ is a complex network of fine threads, referred to as hyphae, that permeate the fungi's food source and absorb its nutrients.
The plant organ of the Amanita muscaria may be a classical mushroom shape. The prominent cap is usually around 12cm (c. 6 inches) in diameter when fully developed, but some specimens may reach sizes of up to 30cm (c.12 inches) in diameter. The cap may be a very prominent crimson, which gradually fades to orange then straw because it ages. it's scattered with white or yellow flecks or warts, literally remnants of a protective veil that shrouds the whole mushroom when it first emerges. These particles are often washed off by rain, or ignored with a finger. The white stem is from 5-20cm (2-8 inches) long, with a basal bulb that also shows remnants of the protective veil within the sort of one or more ragged collars (or ruffs) circling the bottom.
Fly agaric is taken into account poisonous. It belongs to fungi's equivalent genus because of the deadly death cup, although it's rarely fatal. The name Fly Agaric comes from the old European practice of using this fungus crushed, dipped or sprinkled in milk as an insecticide.
Despite its poisonous properties, this species' consumption in small amounts by indigenous populations is widely documented. The mushroom contains an assortment of psychoactive and hallucinogenic chemicals and has been utilized in various religious and shamanistic ceremonies for quite 2,000 years. These practices are particularly well documented for Ireland's indigenous people, where the mushroom is involved in rituals to speak with the imaginary place.
The fly agaric's religious connections are far-reaching. it's widely thought to be the "Soma" talked about in Hindu scriptures, and a few also believe it to be the "amrita" mentioned in Buddhist scriptures.
Closer to home, there's a well-liked myth that Nordic Viking warriors wont to consume Amanita muscaria to send them into their berserker rages. However, compelling evidence for this theory is tough to seek out. Another method, again challenging to substantiate, suggests that Zulu warriors consumed Amanita muscaria before going into battle. This, in part, helped them go away the sector victorious after the famous battle against the British army at Isandlwana.
It is suggested that there's a connection between the Amanita muscaria and, therefore, the modern incarnation of Santa Clause. The mushroom's red and white livery is reflected in Santa's robes, and his use of chimneys is claimed to be symbolic of the Siberian shaman's habit of entering huts through the smoke-hole within the roof bearing a sack filled with these mushrooms. Reindeer also is particularly a fan of this mushroom within the wild. Therefore the hallucinogenic properties cause them to prance around wildly for a few time – which could partially explain Santa's association with flying reindeer.