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Amanita Muscaria August 9, 2007

Posted by dorigo in personal, science.

This morning while following the trail to Malga Nemes, above Passo di Montecroce Comelico, we found a spot of the woods very densely populated with specimens of Amanita Muscaria, a venomous mushroom which has a very esthetic appearance. The intense red color of the cap, covered with white warts, is very distinctive.
Here is a trio which was particularly good looking:

Amanita Muscaria has hallucinatory properties, and while venomous, it is not really too dangerous (cases of death from ingestion are extremely rare). I really like when I find these mushrooms when I walk in the woods in search of more edible boletus edulis or cantharellus cibarius (we are about to eat a good risotto with those tonight), because it is said to mark the place where boleti are likely to grow.
Unfortunately, only a few hours after taking this picture, on our way back from Malga Nemes we found that most of the mushrooms had been destroyed! Probably people looking for edible mushrooms who had little consideration for the beauty of nature.

Wikipedia has a very interesting and well-written piece on this mushroom.



1. changcho - August 9, 2007

It looks just like the mushrooms drawn in the Asterix comics I used to read as a kid (well, I still read them)!

2. dorigo - August 10, 2007

Hi Changcho,

funny – I am too a big fan of Asterix. And I know exactly what cartoon you are thinking of – “Asterix at the Olympiads” or whatever the English translation is. At the very beginning, Matusalemix (in italian, in French it is Agecanonix) is picking up amanitae muscariae in front of Aquarium, and then a huge issue with the way to cook them goes on for a while… Quite funny!


3. riqie arneberg - August 10, 2007

This is known colloquially as “Fly Agaric”. My mother told me the name derives from its use as a pesticide, but my Native American friends say it can induce hallucinations involving flying. Perhaps FSM is offering you a vision quest.

4. Bubba, we’re not in Texas « Millard Fillmore’s Bathtub . - August 11, 2007

[…] inject religion into biology is that knowledge of biology can protect one from harm.  From Dorigo, at A Quantum Diaries Survivor, in this case, a little mycological knowledge is not only… it allows appreciation of beauty: This morning while following the trail to Malga Nemes, above […]

5. changcho - August 12, 2007

Tomasso – the issue you mention is called, in English “Asterix at the Olympic Games”, and Matusalemix is called “Geriatrix”. I suppose they must adapt the character names to the language in question, though of course Asterix and Obelix remain the same.

I’m sure I’ve seen that mushroom in other issues, though, since a forest surrounds the Gaulish village and our ‘indomitable’ characters hang out in that forest quite often.

I am going to re-read that story…Cheers!

6. dorigo - August 12, 2007


yes, of course – we could launch a challenge to find mushrooms in Asterix issues and it would be a lot of fun.
About the olympic games, one of the funniest things in that one is the way they picture the greek. The humor of insisting in making the most possible use of all the pictorial and historic information about their society and uses is subtle and very peculiar of the Asterix cartoons.


7. The Monochromatic Knight - August 13, 2007

This type of mushroom has a long history that can be traced through many cultures back to shamanism. This is why you can find the image of the mushroom in many places such as in Asterix, gnome and fairy related pictures, Christmas cards and ornaments, etc. Keep an eye open the the red and white mushroom and you’ll notice their presence more frequently.

There’s a pretty solid anthropological theory which links Santa Claus to the Amanita Muscaria and the Siberian shamans who utilized it. Follow the link to find a repost of Mark Adams article ‘Why do Santa’s reindeer fly? The role of ancient mushroom-using shamans.’


8. dorigo - August 13, 2007

Hi Knight,

yes, I know about shamanism and the use of the fly agaric in ancient cultures… But thank you for the interesting link and the connection with Santa Claus – of which I was unaware.


9. Torben Bo Hansen - January 27, 2008

If you are interested in the Amanita muscaria I recommend that you read the following webpage, http://www.thelostword.dk
Kind regards,
Torben Bo Hansen

10. SuperFly Agaric - July 14, 2008

Nice pictures! If you’re interested in the shamanic background of the A. Muscaria species, check out http://www.a-muscaria.com/amanita-muscaria-history.php
Apparently, people used to drink the urine of the shamans that had consumed the mushrooms which is not only just as psychoactive as taking the mushrooms themselves, but also filters out much of the muscarine responsible for the negative side effects.

11. Happy for the hunt « A Quantum Diaries Survivor - August 20, 2008

[…] Passo Montecroce Comelico, close to Padola, where I spend a few weeks every summer. I saw a nice Amanita Muscaria on the right of the trail under some trees, and went in to investigate – Amanita Muscaria is […]

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