Most of us don’t know the half of what’s going on in our gardens. In her latest blogpost Ann Mackay ends a paragraph with “Just shows how much murder and mayhem is going on among the beasties that live in our gardens!” and this is true. Murder and mayhem may also originate from plants and other surprising sources.
Let’s consider the lovely red-and-white toadstools which we love to see in autumn.
Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita.
In New Zealand we’re well into autumn and I’ve posted occasional photos of the toadstools which some of you have particularly enjoyed. When they’re young they look cute don’t they?
They grow bigger.
Sometimes it’s a battle. Stuff in the way.
Finally the toadstool stands tall with a large round red-orange cap.
I held the camera low and took a shot ‘blind’. I didn’t know how it’d turn out.
Turned out to be a murder scene!
These can be bad news for people too. Best not to mess with them.
Fly agaric and magic mushrooms
Two other types of toxic mushroom are fly agaric (Amanita muscaria), and several species of magic mushroom (Psilocybe species). Both types contain hallucinogenic chemicals, and some people deliberately risk the toxic effects to achieve a psychedelic high.
Fly agaric poison may cause severe stomach pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Magic mushroom poisoning is unlikely to be fatal, but small, brown magic mushrooms are easily mistaken for other toxic species such as Clitocybe, Entoloma and Cortinarius.
Text and photos by Liz; Exploring Colour (2021)
All the photos were taken at Maple Glen garden 04 April 21