It’s ‘shroom time in the Big Woods, brought about by the arrival of the first of the fall rains. Mushrooms have sprung up everywhere, white and red and yellow and brown and purple and ….
The folks who like mushrooms for their psychoactive properties often shorten the word to ‘shrooms and some prefer the colorful fly amanita that is abundant and colorful, appearing in red, orange and yellow –
The toxic chemicals in fly amanita are quite variable, with the effects ranging from none through hallucinations to, rarely, fatal. Speaking of fatal, another of the amanitas the destroying angel is virtually always fatal to those who ingest it. So toxic is this mushroom that more than one mushroom guide warns against even tasting it. Once the symptoms of poisoning by the destroying angel, also called death angel, appear it’s too late. Beware the destroying angel –
The amanitas are what are called mycorrhizal fungi which live on the roots of trees and are the primary means for the trees to acquire nutrients and water.
Identification of fungi can be very difficult and confusing, some are easy to identify and perfectly fit the field guides' descriptions, but many others do not or require microscopic examination of their spores or chemical reactions with reagents to identify.
Here’s a sampling of the recent crop of mushrooms in the Big Woods - minus names –
The sizes, shapes and colors of the thousands of species of fungi are beautiful and intriguing, but I won’t eat the ones to be found in the Big Woods.