10.30.2014 Don’t eat a Amanita

Bad grammar but it has a rhythm.  🙂

Fungi are such interesting organisms and are essential to the ecology and success of plants.  The mycorrhizal association they have with plants is one of mutual benefit.  Fungi break down minerals and share them while plants offer food through photosynthesis.  Much as the honey bee is essential to our food supply,  mushrooms signal health in our soils.

Many mushrooms offer us tasty morsels, but not so most, if not all, Amanitas.  This one, Amanita muscaria (Fly Agaric), is not the deadliest of them, but it can still prove fatal despite the good looks and is to be avoided.  However, we are always happy to see these pop up in the yard and this year we have a nice group of them gracing the yard below some hemlocks.Amanita-muscaria-102414-600WebEventually they will open fully into what we think of as toadstools.  The larger one here has done so, but the cap has split and isn’t all that attractive.  As a self-described intimate nature photographer, I did have to produce a portrait of one.Amanita-muscaria-102514-600WebI have seen some from European photographers that are brilliantly red all over the cap, but never around here.  Still, this is the brightest of the species I have seen so am quite happy with this.


About Steve Gingold

I am a Nature Photographer with interests in all things related. Water, flowers, insects and fungi are my main interests but I am happy to photograph wildlife and landscapes and all other of Nature's subjects.
This entry was posted in Autumn Color, Closeup Photography, Fungi, Mushrooms, Nature Photography and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

26 Responses to 10.30.2014 Don’t eat a Amanita

  1. Yes, ours are usyally bright red, but I have seen some also with more into orange colours. This year it was few red ones, and incredibly many of the brown one. Also toxic, also beautiful. Nice photos and rhythm.


  2. Jim in IA says:

    Quite a nice portrait. I will not eat any.


  3. Andrew says:

    I think its blushing at having its portrait taken, Steve.


  4. They are very beautiful, aren’t they? Love the portrait. Have you read, “The Unseen Forest”? I can’t remember the author, but I did think it was enjoyable. He has a lyrical way of putting things.


    • Yes, I have read Haskell’s book, if you mean “The Forest Unseen”. I enjoyed it immensely.

      I am glad you see these as beautiful, Melissa. I find most things in nature to be so, although many disagree…especially about spiders and bugs…..and snakes too. 😉 While nature does not need beauty and the facets we find attractive are more utilitarian than aesthetic, so much is lovely to behold as are the functions that they play in the ecological garden where they exist.


  5. The Amanita muscaria looks deadly to me. I shall I be blunt -I think it is colorful but not attractive. The photos are excellent.


    • I can understand your not finding my Amanita pretty, Yvonne. Many people would agree with you. If you saw some of the awful, damp, pancake like Boletes growing all over my lawn, you might find these a little more attractive. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, as they say. 🙂 But for some reason the mushroom looks very toxic. Of course that is simply one person’s perspective. I’ve seen quite a variety of ugly mushrooms on my own property. But I’ve not been inspired to photograph them. The one that I put on my blog is not even pretty in my opinion. I photographed it that day because I had never seen any mushroom look even remotely like the Devil’s Cigar.

        Bit to end my opinion here I like seeing them on your blog. All the things that you post are interesting and educational.

        Liked by 1 person

  6. In the same way that scientists view viruses as occupying that fuzzy area between living and nonliving (recall that, in order to be alive you have to be able to reproduce, and viruses cannot reproduce by themselves) I have always viewed mushrooms similarly. I mean, let’s face it … animals move, angiosperms and gymnosperms DO STUFF, and mushrooms sort of … well, they just sit there. Not lots of activity to observe. Having said that, the Stinkhorn fungi which came up all around the yard this summer rose from out of the soil, literally, over night. My mycologist colleague at school would lecture me about my bad attitude. Perhaps it stems from the fact that I absolutely can’t handle mushrooms as food, although the Morels we have here in PA and had in IN, when we lived there, are morsels that folks rave about. Sorry … none for me, thanks. The portraits are well done. I like the perspective (ant’s-eye-view) of the second. D


    • Well, mushrooms/fungi do reproduce and just step on a puffball for a little fungal fireworks. I’ve been watching these Amanitas growing into toadstools in the yard. I should have done a time lapse for you. But, yeah, they do pretty much just sit there. All the action is underground…..but so are the nematodes. Slime molds do travel from food source to food source, although they are not fungi, but many think of them as such and they are often included in some field guides.As far as eating mushrooms, I love them. If we ever have dinner together, you can pick ’em out and give them to me.


      • One of the worst meals I ever had took place at the house of a very good friend of Joanna’s – shortly after we were married. Our hosts served up mushroom soup … and I don’t mean mushroom-flavored soup, or soup with tiny bits of mushrooms. I mean soup with mushrooms, as big as your eyeballs, floating in broth! What was I to do? I couldn’t chew, for fear of bringing everything right back up. So, I risked death by swallowing each one WHOLE! Talk about a near death experience. It’s not a flavor-thing … it’s entirely textural … really. D


      • I am like that with armed seafood…squid and octopus. Mary Beth helped a nice Vietnamese lady with her English as a second language studies and we took her to Boston when it was time to be interviewed for her citizenship. In appreciation she had us for dinner which was a tureen full of soup…lots of squid and octopus legs all over the place. I ate what was in my bowl and it did taste good, but the idea didn’t change and I still have no interest in them.
        Dinner….is served. 🙂


      • Yup … a memorable cinematic moment to be sure. But, I do believe I’ve got one to beat it. Have you ever seen Ewan McGregor’s documentary, entitled The Long Way Round? It follows him and his buddy on a round the world motorcycle journey. The thing shows a dinner they were invited to participate in while in Mongolia. I’ll keep it at that suffice to say that folks in Mongolia raise lots of sheep and goats. The movie is entertaining even if you’re not a motorcycle enthusiast. I’ll pass on squid and octopus as well … but bring on the lobster and shrimp anytime. D


      • I have not seen that one……I’ll look for it. What attracted you more in the film…the motorcycle or the sheep and goats? 🙂


      • The motorcycle … but only because a buddy of mine is quite the enthusiast and recommended the film.


  7. If the male’s an Amanito
    Then I will utter: “Neat-o!”
    But if there aren’t males or females
    Then think how much a mushroom’s life pales.


  8. shoreacres says:

    Your mushrooms are way fancier than ours, or I don’t run in the right circles to see the splendiferous ones. I do like the color, especially since most of ours range from light beige to dark beige. Does anything eat them, or are they poisonous to all living things? I ask, because our squirrels are fond of mushrooms and fungus, and will take pieces home and store them in the pantry to dry and use as a winter food.


    • Most of ours fall into that beige category and are termed LBMs…little brown mushrooms. I am pretty sure someone is taking a bite out of these, but I am not sure whom. They are toxic to many animals like our pets. The ones I posted have what appear to be bites taken out of them that I have hidden by composition. They seemed like bites although maybe they are just damages from rocks that pushed against them as they traveled up through the soil.


  9. Lottie Nevin says:

    This would be absolutely perfect if, there was a little fairy or elf in there somewhere……;)

    Liked by 1 person

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