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

  • Tickled pink with Centennial Parklands’ new Brachychiton discolor

    Centennial Parklands’ new Pink Lace Bark tree planted in Centennial Park recently was the largest one trees available from a nursery and the largest in Centennial Park’s history of tree planting! Find out more about how it came to be part of the Parklands’ tree population.

  • Reconnect with the small birds of Centennial Park

    The ‘wild outer’ part of Centennial Park, outside the loop of Grand Drive, provides important habitat for native plants and animals, especially bird life. Centennial Parklands is one of the easiest urban birdwatching vantage points in Sydney, on an average day you can easily see 50 bird species over its 360 hectares. There are plenty of big birds […]

  • Sydney’s kids go wild for WILD PLAY!

    The Ian Potter Children’s WILD PLAY Garden in Centennial Park is proving a hit with the kids of Sydney. Over the past week, children and their families from right across Sydney made their way to the Garden, which is designed to be an outdoor learning experience for kids of all abilities and backgrounds. It is made […]

  • Hello sunshine! Rare wattle plant found in the Parklands

    We were very excited recently to uncover two very rare little wattle plants in the Parklands. The ‘Sunshine Wattle’ or as scientifically named, ‘Acacia terminalis subsp. Terminalis’ has large, fluffy, pale yellow flowers, and is so uncommon, there are thought to be no more than around 1,000 plants in bush regeneration areas across the state! The […]