Species of the Month - September 2011

Fly Agaric

Amanita muscaria

This well-known mushroom is easily recognised by the bright red cap covered with white flecks, which are the remains of the veil that surrounds the whole fungus when it first emerges.  These flecks can be washed off by rain but normally leave traces that are the shape of the fleck and the colour of the cap.

Amanita muscaria, young   Amanita muscaria

Left: emergent fruitbody.

Above: Young fruitbody.


Amanita muscaria

Fruitbody in prime condition

Amanita muscaria

Above: Fruitbody with few flecks remaining
 and beginning to turn orange

Right: Fruitbody with no flecks remaining,
and only red in centre

  Amanita muscaria, faded to orange

This species is most common under Birch but is also frequently found under conifers, and occasionally with other broadleaved trees such as Beech or Oak.  This survey will help us find out which trees it associates with in this part of the country.

Please send in your sightings using the form below.

Date of sighting 
Grid reference 
Name of finder 
Your name (if different) 
Email (not needed if I already know it!) 
Associated trees 
Any other details 


By filling in this form you agree that the information contained in this form may be collated and disseminated manually or electronically for environmental decision-making, education, research and other public benefit uses in accordance with the LNHG data access policy.  Your email address will not form part of the record and will not be passed on to anyone.

Carl Farmer
G Biological Records Manager

Sightings so far

On 4 Sep Tina reported some under birch trees in her garden at Kimore.

Also on 4 Sep I found some under birch at Ballachulish.

On 5 Sep at Inverawe I found two among the upturned roots of a fallen beech tree, one at the base and one at chest height.  There were mainly beech trees around but an oak and a birch not far away.  Fly agaric does occasionally form a mycrorrhizal partnership with beech, so that was probably the case here, though possibly it had mycelium running down to the ground and then along to the nearest birch roots, as birch is a much commoner partner for it.

On 7 Sep Kerry saw several groupings while walking round the Glencruitten woods.  Some were under conifers and some in mixed broadleaved woodland with birch.

On 8 Sep at a different part of Inverawe I found some whoppers (up to 25 cm diameter) under Birch.

On 14 Sep Judith Witts found it under birch with hazel and oak nearby, at Drimfern, near Inveraray.

On the Fearnoch Fungus Foray on 17 Sep this mushroom was seen several times, always near Spruce, sometimes with Birch present as well.  All the fruitbodies found were on or beside a nest of the Scottish Wood Ant.

Note you can still send in records for past species of the month.  Here is the list of species we've had so far:

Aug 2011 - Grass of Parnassus
Jul 2011 - Golden-ringed Dragonfly
Jun 2011 - 7-spot Ladybird
May 2011 - Green Hairstreak
Apr 2011 - Townhall Clock

Mar 2011 - Frogspawn

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All photos and other content copyright Carl Farmer except where stated