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Amanita muscaria

Posted by
Johan Dierckx (Wijnegem, Belgium) on 23 October 2010 in Plant & Nature and Portfolio.

The "archetype of a classical mushroom" - Amanita muscaria (Vliegenzwam (BE) / Fly agaric (EN) / Fliegenpilz (DE) / Amanite tue-mouches (FR)) - is a cosmopolitan, poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus in the Amanitaceae family. Because this is perhaps the best known mushroomspecies in the entire world, I will not provide a description today.

But have you ever wondered why there is a reference to flies in the common names of this species ? Even the specific epithet in the scientific name derives from the Latin word "musca" meaning "fly". Albertus Magnus wrote in his work "De vegetabilibus" sometime before 1256: vocatur fungus muscarum, eo quod in lacte pulverizatus interficit muscas ("It is called the mushroom of flies, because crushed in milk it kills flies"). This practice has been recorded from Germanic- and Slavic-speaking parts of Europe, as well as the Vosges region and pockets elsewhere in France, and Romania.

Today the red-and-white spotted toadstool is a common image in many aspects of popular culture, especially in children's books, film, garden ornaments, greeting cards, and more recently computer games. Garden ornaments, and children's picture books depicting gnomes and fairies, such as the Smurfs, very often show fly agarics used as seats, or homes. Two of the most famous uses of the mushroom are in the video game series Super Mario Bros., and the dancing mushroom sequence in the 1940 Disney film Fantasia.

But there is no greater delight than finding this species in real nature and I just can't resist to make images of this species at least once every year ...

Image: Kalmthout (BE) - 01/10/2010

Canon EOS 400D 1/125 second F/5.6 ISO 200 150 mm

© Johan Dierckx

The photos on this site are copyrighted, which prohibits anyone to use them to sell, give away, use in email or newsgroups, use in a homepage or otherwise showing to the public without my explicit, prior, written permission. Please feel free to use the "contact"-button below to contact me with any questions.

All species are photographed in their natural habitat, without cutting or capturing them, and with maximal respect and the least possible disturbance to the environment.

(To see species in the same taxonomic rank (Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus), please use the tags provided with the image. The last tag is the Iso-code for the country where the image was taken. Image-date in DD/MM/YYYY format.)

Please feel free to visit my personal website http://www.diversitasnaturae.be/

Julie Brown from Indianapolis, United States

Yes, it is the classic mushroom we are all familiar with. I love that color! I had no knowledge of the fly references or connection. Interesting how a poisonous organism would be incorporated into children's stories.

23 Oct 2010 1:57pm

@Julie Brown: I think it is because this species is so attractive due to the color and the white warts, combined with the worldwide appearance that it has become the "archetype" mushroom. You can't make failures in determination on this one. The poisonousness is also an opportunity to explain to children that eating mushrooms can be very dangerous ... (Glad you learned something on the fly-connection.)

Shayna from Seeley, Canada

Excellent image and information!

23 Oct 2010 2:02pm

@Shayna: Thank you very much, Shayna. Glad you like it.

@Look from Nivelles, Belgium

Impressive "portrait" of this well known mushroom, always fascinating ! Nice bright colours and very good background !
Kind regards

23 Oct 2010 3:12pm

@@Look: Thanks for your visit and your comment, Jean. Have a nice day.

Curly from South Shields, United Kingdom

Stunning shot Johan.

23 Oct 2010 4:58pm

@Curly: Thanks, Curly. Have a nice day !

Mascha from Kootstertille, Netherlands

Een sprookje!!

23 Oct 2010 5:47pm

@Mascha: Elk jaar weer kijk ik uit naar het eerste exemplaar van het seizoen ... en maar zoeken naar die kabouters ... Rien Poortvliet moet echt geluk hebben gehad !

tataray from france, France

Magnifique ...
Beaux détails... ))

23 Oct 2010 8:27pm

@tataray: Thank you very much for your visit and your comment.

Michael from Chester, United Kingdom

5 Stars.... for this exceptional image. The sharpness and light is excellent.

23 Oct 2010 9:47pm

@Michael: I'm glad you like it that much, Michael. Thank you very much for your appreciation. Have a nice day.

zecarlos from Lisboa, Portugal

Great shot. Congrats.

23 Oct 2010 10:34pm

@zecarlos: Thank you very much for your visit and your comment, Zecarlos.

Veronique from Sarrouilles, France

this one is for a book ! perfect

24 Oct 2010 6:39am

@Veronique: Thank you for this encouraging comment, Veronique. Have a nice day !! Greetz !

Christine from Duns, United Kingdom

Stunning a 5***** capture

24 Oct 2010 7:15am

@Christine: Thank you very much, Christine. Thanks for al the *. It is every year a challenge for me to make a better image then the previous year :-)

Marilla from Turku, Finland

5 stars for the incredible composition, colours and lighting!

24 Oct 2010 4:14pm

@Marilla: I'm realy honored by getting your 5, Marilla. Thank you very much for your appreciation. Greetz !

Marleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Ook al zo'n gave plaat:-) En een zeer interessant 'college'!

24 Oct 2010 6:43pm

@Marleen: Ieder jaar probeer ik een betere "Vliegenzwamfoto" te maken dan die van het jaar daarvoor ... En aangezien iedereen deze soort wel eens heeft gezien, dacht ik dat het wel leuk was er een "weetje" aan toe te voegen :-) Groetjes !!!

Lucie from Mannheim, Germany

AAAhhh! Just beautiful. I love this photo. Wonderful composition. I love mushrooms, but on my plate I prefer boletus ;)

24 Oct 2010 10:23pm

@Lucie: Thank you very much, Lucie. You are very right to prefer boletus above this one - he's rather poisonous :-)
(you can comment in German if you like, I understand most of is, but it is hard for me to reply in German, so my replies will be in English)

Dutçh from Chicagoland, United States

Congrats on the spotlight.. love the shot!

24 Oct 2010 10:46pm

@Dutçh: I didn't notice untill now ... I'm honored! It gives me some courage to continue... but all the kind comments from wonderfull "friends" like you here on my "every-day-images" also do. So many, many thanks !!!

Daniel from Kenmare, United States


24 Oct 2010 11:06pm

@Daniel: Thank you very much for your visit and your comment, Daniel.

Sriraam Kalingarayar from Chennai, India

I lile the orange here... Beautiful image

25 Oct 2010 5:06am

@Sriraam Kalingarayar: It is always a delight finding this beautifully colored species. Thanks for your visit and comment, Sriraam.

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Deine Fotos begeistern mich einfach ! Da passt alles - Licht, Schärfe, Bildeinteilung - gratuliere zu diesem besonderen Foto !

25 Oct 2010 5:43am

@Loner: Thank you very much, Sonja. I'm always very happy with your very positive and encouraging comments. I think we have the same motivation in making images: we are both inspired and wondered about nature and want to show to "the world" how beautiful and interesting this nature can be - you are a master in bird-pix. while I'm looking for my subjects more into the small and close to ground world. It is very nice to meet people like you here on aminus3. Thanks for all your comments !

daniela scharnowski from Berlin, Germany

woohoo, congrats on the welldeserved spotlight Johan!!!
They look so plastically,excellent photograph with amazing colours!!

25 Oct 2010 6:30am

@daniela scharnowski: Many thanks, Daniela ! This group was so wellformed and wellplaced in the environment... just a unique occasion to make some good images of this beautiful species.

Olivier from Manage, Belgium

Congratulations for this spotlight...

25 Oct 2010 7:13am

@Olivier: Thank you very much, Olivier.

Marleen from Doesburg, Netherlands

Gefeliciteerd met de Spotlight- geheel en al terecht voor deze prachtige opname!
(valt volgend jaar vast moeilijk te overtreffen;-)))

25 Oct 2010 7:15am

@Marleen: Hartelijk dank, Marleen. Tja, volgend jaar zien we weer he ... dan ben ik allicht weeral in "stijl" geëvolueerd ... en zien de beelden er weer heel anders uit ...

Ronnie 2¢ from Atlantic Shores, United Kingdom

These always look so magical . . and what a perfect setting here. Congrats on the Spotlight !

25 Oct 2010 3:33pm

@Ronnie 2¢: Thank you very much for your visit and your comment, Ronnie. It is indeed always a wonderfull species to find and every year I'm looking for them... Autumn isn't autumn without seeing those ...

myky from London, Canada

This is a fantastic image...gorgeous detail and colours...congratulations!

25 Oct 2010 9:28pm

@myky: Thank you very much for your visit and comment, Myky.

Monique from Koh Samui, Thailand

Prachtig herfsttafereel en zo leuk zoals de grootste beschermend over de kleine lijkt te waken!

26 Oct 2010 11:34am

@Monique: Ik had eerder de indruk dat de kleinste aan de grootste zijn voeten kwam kietelen :-) Het blijven toch de ideale paddenstoelen om bij te beginnen fantaseren he ... Bedankt voor je commentaar alweer, Monique.

Loner from Wörgl, Austria

Gratuliere noch einmal, Johan, zum "Spotlight" !!!

26 Oct 2010 3:34pm

@Loner: Thanks, Sonja :-)

Skyriani from Nelson, New Zealand

simply stunning...these are such a wonderful subject, and this particular image is really special

26 Oct 2010 6:39pm

@Skyriani: Thanks again for your comment, Skyriani. Can this species be found in New Zealand too ?

Demo from Villeneuve d, France

Wow fantastic composition!
And as usual a very interesting description :)

27 Oct 2010 12:45pm

@Demo: Thank you very much again for your comment. It is a common specimen but always so lovely to find and capture. Greetz for both of you !

Vaido from Võrumaa, Estonia

Excellent capture of this couple!

2 Nov 2010 5:13pm

@Vaido: Thank you very much for your visit and your comment on this one, Vaido. Have a nice day !

Sina Sohi from Tehran, Iran

Nice colours

4 Nov 2010 9:13pm

@Sina Sohi: Thank you very much for your visit and your comment, Sina.

Laurent from near Lyon, France

just perfect

6 Nov 2010 4:36pm

@Laurent: Thanks again for your time and I appreciate your comment, Laurent.

Dexter Chee from Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia

Very good macro shot, love the colors.

27 Dec 2010 3:10pm

aubelia from Courtrai, Belgium

Dat is een hele mooie foto

8 Jan 2011 2:51pm

@aubelia: Heel erg bedankt voor je bezoekje en je commentaar, Aubelia.

saman from qazvin, Iran


17 May 2014 2:44am

Canon EOS 400D
1/125 second
ISO 200
150 mm