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mushroom2Amanita Muscaria

     This mushroom, one of a hundred Amanita varieties, grows in several parts of Beaver Island.  It has a yellow cap that reaches a diameter of 7", with white warts, and a chlorine-like odor.  Its common name is "fly agaric", derived from its past use as a fly poison. 
   The Amanita family includes edible mushrooms, and also some that are poisonous. More than half of the mushroom fatalities in America are caused by Amanita. This one has dangerous properties; eating it can produce a kind of drunken euphoria, or even a hallucinogenic state.  Many fables of myth and magic are associated with this plant.  The Sami people of Lapland filtered their supply through the medium of reindeer, leaving the dried mushroom for the reindeer to eat and then brewing a drink that included their urine. Some people believe that the soma sacrament mentioned in the Rg Veda was this plant.
     One rule of thumb is to stay away from a species such as this, which never bears the uncertain but vaguely positive sign of nibble marks from rodents.

 

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