At around about this time of year we routinely receive enquiries from park visitors about something bright and colourful that pops up. They are small, red, spotty but do not touch them please!

Fly Agaric – the name may not be immediately recognisable, but the sight of this little fungus grabs most people’s attention!

The Fly Agaric (its species name is Amanita muscaria), according to the Encyclopaedia of Life, is a “classic European fairytale mushroom, bearing white gills and white warts on a typically bright red cap”.

It probably originated in Asia or Europe, where it then “spread to cover most parts of the northern hemisphere.

 

Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric in Centennial Park – snapped by Ranger Colin

 

In more recent times it has been transported (unintentionally by humans) to areas of the southern hemisphere. The fungus contains a range of toxic compounds and poisoning can occur, especially in young children and older people.

 

I’ve seen them before!

Smurf Village

Smurf Village – taken from The Smurfs Wiki (http://smurfs.wikia.com/wiki/Smurfs_Wiki)

The Fly Agaric features prominently in mythology and fairy tales and has featured memorably in television shows such as the BBC’s The Magic Roundabout. It had been used for various purposes throughout history including as an insecticide in the middle ages to kill flies (although it has not been proved to work very well for this purpose).

In more modern times, anyone who has played the Super Mario Bros console game will certainly recognise this little fungus, while those of an older generation may remember the dancing mushroom sequence in the Disney movie Fantasia.

Of course, for many, the most memorable place they will have seen them is on  The Smurfs. The Fly Agaric was often seen as one of the mushroom homes in the Smurf Village!

 

Please look but don’t touch!

So there you are, some background information behind these bright mushrooms. We encourage you to take a look, but please don’t touch. If you need to get a closer look, let’s help you digitally!

 

Top of Fly Agaric

Fly Agaric from above

 

Underside of Fly Agaric

Underside of Fly Agaric

 

Health and Fitness eNews sign up

 

Similar Articles

  • Clean Up Australia Day
    Get your gloves dirty for a good cause this Clean Up Australia Day!

    We are very lucky to have such beautiful Parklands to enjoy, right on the doorstep of the city. While there are many strategies and initiatives in place to keep Centennial Parklands looking spectacular, every little bit of help goes a long way! You can help us by adopting the ‘leave no trace’ approach when you visit […]

  • Photo of the week thumbnail
    Photos of the Week: What a View!

    The Parklands is often recognised for its beautiful vistas. From lush woodland areas to pockets of ‘semi-wild’ open paddock, to rocky outcrops, to rolling greens set before a magnificent city skyline. This edition of Photos of the Week, ‘What A View!’ is a celebration of your striking photographs of some of the most iconic and romantic aspects of Centennial Park, […]

  • Willow Pond
    5 ways you can help us protect Centennial Park’s ponds

    Centennial Park’s ornamental ponds are some of its most popular features and many will know them for the beautiful habitat they provide for water birds and aquatic life. People are often surprised however, to hear that these water features (with the exception of Lily Pond), act as a detention basin for stormwater runoff and have an […]

  • Baby birds leave their nests as summer arrives

    Baby birds around Sydney are making the transition from nestling to fledgling, trying out their wings and learning to fly. Young birds are often seen on the ground throughout late spring and early summer and this is a normal stage in their transition to adulthood. Centennial Parklands is a birdwatcher’s paradise with over 50 species […]