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Fly Agaric

Latin name: Amanita muscaria

Size: cap 8-20cm, stipe (stalk) 5-20cm.

Season: August to November in the UK.

Lifecyle: Like all fungi the fly agaric reproduce by releasing spores. They do this from the gills under the cap, which are then carried on the wind or animals.

The new fungi then grow underground, only breaking the surface during their fruiting season in the autumn, where the whole process starts again.

Habitat: Fly agaric grow in deciduous, coniferous and mixed woodland, in temperate climates in the northern hemisphere, meaning that the UK is ideal for them.

Whilst most common in boreal regions (between the tropics and arctic circle), fly agaric have been found at altitude in warmer climates including Central America.

Did you know? Fly agaric get their name from their historical use for catching flies and other insects regarded as pests. Cut up and sprinkled in milk, the fly agaric releases the toxins ibotenic acid and muscimol which attract and kill the flies.

These chemicals make fly agaric dangerous for humans to eat raw or if not properly prepared. They are eaten, however, in some cultures, and the toxin removed through parboiling and draining multiple times. Don't try this at home!

Where to find them

UK map showing distribution of fly agaric fungi

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