A Royal Flush

There must be a huge mycelium run under the grass.

Back in the day [any FBI that read this: back in the 90s] I grew a few rounds of “magic” mushrooms. Not to get high; I did it for the sheer sciency joy of the process. Cue Ray Wylie Hubbard: “I didn’t use the cocaine to get high, I just like the way it smelled.” But one time I had a big jar of rye grass substrate that wouldn’t fruit so I finally threw the contents into my neighbor’s manure pile, just in case. 2 years later they had giant flushes of Cubensis this size. I snuck over the fence again, with a styrofoam box full of dry ice, and collected what must have been 2 lbs of the darned things. Because I didn’t want them to be embarrassed if they realized what they were growing, good neighbor I am.

I don’t know what those are, but I won’t be eating them. The deer haven’t touched them, and that’s a bad sign.


  1. Jazzlet says

    You can eat fly agaric with the appropriate preparation, but I woudn’t recommend doing so. It used to be used by northern European shamans, apparently it makes you feel as if you are flying. The active ingredient also passes through the body into the urine unchanged so you can literally take the piss and get a second hand high. Reindeer were supposed to seek out the yellow snow for that reason. Make of that what you will, the lecturer of a course I did on mycology repored this all with a straight face.

  2. says

    These are definitively Amanita. Very probably Amanita muscaria but also possibly Amanita pantherina, although that one is usually more grey-ish. It also could be some other species.

    The first one can be used to extract stuff to get high and it was indeed used for such purposes in the past, but I would not recommend doing it, your liver and kidneys would not appreciate it in the long term. I. The second one could also get one high, but only for a short time and only once, because besides containing hallucinogens it is also very poisonous. As are most of the other species that have this speckly look with an orange-yellow tint to the cap.

    Using mushrooms to get high is a very stupid idea. One big problem with any mushroom hallucinogens in either dried or fresh form is unreliable dosage. Then there is the very real possibility of a species-mixup, because many species that induce any high are closely related and similar in appearance to species that are just plain poisonous. Any such unpurified unprocessed drug should be avoided and should never be administered without medical supervision.

    I say this as a biologist and a chemist – I have a strong dislike for amateurs growing and using mind-altering drugs. It is inherently dangerous and irresponsible. No rational human would do such a thing.

  3. says


    Well said.

    Some years ago a guy stepped of the 5th floor balcony of an flat nearby after eating magic mushrooms; according to others present he thought he could fly…
    He was killed instantly when he hit the pavement.

  4. kestrel says

    I agree it’s Amanita muscaria. Absolutely do not eat it. But aren’t they gorgeous? I love mushrooms. You do not have to eat things to appreciate them. No one (to the best of my knowledge) has eaten the Venus de Milo or the Mona Lisa. Bird lovers don’t kill and eat bluebirds to appreciate them. I think this is a fantastic way to appreciate their beauty: through photography. These are lovely photos.

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