If you would like to read my Dorset nature notes about any of these featured species or sites please click on the post title

About Me

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I have been interested in nature for most of my life but since I retired I spend as much time as I can exploring the nature reserves and wildlife hotspots of my adopted home, Dorset in southern England. Whilst out I record what I see and take snaps where I can (I am no photographer!) and that forms the basis of my Nature of Dorset website. When I find something new I like to research it and write about it in my nature notes, it is how I learn and hopefully you might find my notes helpful as well!

This website is for the people of Dorset interested in wildlife and for people from elsewhere interested in the wildlife of Dorset!

04 January, 2012

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

This must surely be the quintessential toadstool! Even if you have never seen one in the 'wild' you will have seen this fungus in children's books and cartoons; it is, of course, where fairies and other strange things live.

The Fly Agaric is quite unique in appearance being the only really red fungus, especially one with white spots on it. They are not white spots as such, but remnants of the outer casing that existed as the fruiting body emerged from the ground.

This is quite common in the birch woods of Dorset as it has an affinity with birch. You can find it in September and October and possibly even in to November.

The red appearance might imply danger! You might think this deadly poisonous like other members of the amanita family but is not. That said, this is the famous 'magic mushroom' and is hallucinatory and can make you quite sick so it really is best left to the fairies!