Fly agaric or red toadstools

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

Red toadstools, rose hips, chesnuts and breathing little clouds: those are my fafourite signs of fall to me – apart from autumn crocuses. Hiking along the path to the beach to the west of Prerow at the Baltic Sea I found many beautiful spots with those red toadstools.

Shiny in red and white

Autumn is the best time for mushrooms, including toadstools. Last September I hiked in the forests around Prerow and the red toadstools with their white spots grew like mad. They prefer acidic soil in the vicinity of spruce and birch. With the latter they are said to maintain a symbiotic relationship. The conditions for their growth this year seemed to be ideal: some rain and pleasantly warm temperatures.

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

First, the small, red hats or caps can be seen as the mushroom pushes out of the earth. They grow very fast and in one of the latter stages the cap opens and looks like an umbrella. White spots can be seen on its surface.

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

Fliegenpilz, Prerow, Heike Pander

Spots can be wiped off

Next to the path to the beach in the west in Prerow the red mushrooms grow in groups and in such quantities that they can not be overlooked. Adorable to look at. Almost every day, new red caps with white dots appear. However, the white spots can be wiped off easily – which I have not tried to do yet. I like the mushroom better with their white spots.

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

Fliegenpilz, Prerow, Heike Pander

That the spots can cause problems for those collecting mushrooms as the latter are poisonous and could be mistaken for an edible mushroom that is called “Kaiserling in German. When I was young I used to go out with my great-aunt to collect mushrooms. She told me to keep my hands off the poisonous toadstools and she had good reason to do so.

After eating a fly agaric, one can develop symptoms of intoxication, which are similar to a frenzy after drinking alcohol. But not only that – the effect can become intense and can cause anxiety or worse symptoms. If the dosage is too high, the poision of the mushroom can even kill. I was always fascinated by the fact that some indigenous peoples in Siberia were not deterred by the poison and took the mushroom in dried form. They accepted intoxication to connect with the spiritual world.

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

Fliegenpilz, Prerow, Heike Pander

I prefer the toadstools as lucky symbols – since I have seen many of them, I can consider myself a very “lucky person”.

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

Fliegenpilze, Prerow, Heike Pander

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