When you walk around the section of our garden where the oak trees and liquidambers are, you'd be faced with a number of small and large red and white mushrooms, some brand new, breaking through the earth, others aged and crumbling and many in between.
You would think we have fairies in the garden, and perhaps we have, because something has been nibbling them at night. We don't recall that happening before.
We love the magic of Autumn. You just never know what you're going to see and the first time we saw these mushrooms around 6 or 7 years ago it was a lovely surprise. I can't wait to go out each morning and see how many more there are as new ones are popping up daily. At the time of writing this blog we have got 50, all at various ages. They seem to last 2-3 weeks and then disappear into the system again, crumbled and broken or curled up with age.
I wouldn't blame you for thinking you're going to see smurfs when you turn up at our place and, in fact, one year we did! I had a group of local photographers coming over and I borrowed some smurfs from a friend to delightfully surprise all my photographer friends. We all had a great laugh and they had a wonderful time taking photos.
The correct name for these mushrooms is Amanita Muscaria, or fly agaric or fly amanita and they do have hallucinogenic properties. Deaths are very rare but it could make you quite sick. In Europe they are parboiled which weakens its toxicity and consumed. Don't know that I'll ever do that here though, more than happy to just enjoy the beautiful colour at a time of year that is my favourite. I really do love Autumn. It's so colourful and pretty here in the Dandenong Ranges and I feel so blessed to be living here. Apparently they didn't originate here in Australia and it was accidentally introduced as a symbiont with pine and birch plantations, but since we have neither here I can only guess that the spores travelled here some time ago and are firmly entrenched here as home.
This mushroom is quite iconic and one of the most recognisable and widely encountered in popular culture today.
Please feel free to leave comments as its always lovely to get feedback. I try to respond to comments as much as possible.