Between the beautiful peaks of the Dolomites, the woods of conifers are full of mushrooms, which help plants supplying them with water and mineral salts.
One of these mushrooms, beautiful and well known, is called Amanita muscaria. Thanks to its big and red pileus with several white spots, you can see this mushroom even if you are far away, and people are attracted by it: it is like magic. Its lamellas are white, as well as its slim stipe, bulbous at the base, adorned by a white ring. The epithet “muscaria” is due to the fact that in some regions this mushroom was used to kill flies (“musca” in Latin). Some pieces of mushroom were macerated in a bowl with milk, and apparently, flies fell down in the bowl sipping the milk; for this reason, they died in the bowl and in English this mushroom in also called “fly agaric”. The toxins contained in this mushroom are above all ibotenic acid and muscimol, which are hallucinogenic and psychoactive. In ancient times, shamans in Siberia used this mushroom, which they called mukhmor, to talk with their Gods. We recommend not eating or trying this kind of mushroom, because the effects on the nervous system can be dangerous. Let us just admire it.
foto1: Elsa Danzi