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Day 265: Mycology

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Today's blog is about - mushrooms.

Specifically, the fly agaric mushroom. These are the ones some people call 'toadstools.'



I suppose their bright-red color is what made them popular with illustrators for gnomes and fairies and other wee folk.



I love seeing them, and they flourish in some areas of our yard; consequently, I don't try to alter the pH balance or aerate the damp, shaded sections or whatever.

Wikipedia says (yes, I know, but it's still my quickest go-to source) the fly agaric is found all over the Northern Hemisphere. Well, mebbe so. But I did a lot of hiking and exploring and wandering all over rural areas in the mid-Atlantic and northern states, and I don't remember seeing any.

Puffball fungi, fan mushrooms, standard white, gray, brown... I've seen all kinds in the wild, but no fly agarics. I didn't even know the red-with-white-spots mushrooms were fly agaric, until I moved here.

Today when we came back from getting groceries, I saw quite a clump of fly agaric in the yard, so after I put the groceries away, I took some pictures. I was pleased to see a range of them in various stages of development, from small and 'newly hatched':



To large and quite showy:



And flattened out, which is what happens when they age - the spots disappear, the red color fades, and they finally dry up and break apart:



That last is actually like a small bowl - it's watertight, too. It was full of water from the rain early this morning.

You may be asking yourself why I was spending time on mushrooms. Dunno. I asked myself the same question. But they're kind of pretty in their way, ain't?

Oh, and for what it's worth: the fly agaric mushroom is poisonous. Ingesting it isn't usually fatal, but I bet it could cause some spectacularly nasty kidney / liver / heart damage or something. So if you do see any - don't touch.

Is it any surprise I'm often heard to say 'Gee, wonder where the day went?' lol...

Goodnight, Sparklers, wherever you are--!

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