MUSHROOM (AMANITA MUSCARIA)
Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the fly agaric or fly Amanita, is a poisonous and psychoactive basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Native throughout the temperate and boreal regions of the Northern Hemisphere, Amanita muscaria has been unintentionally conveyed to many countries in the Southern Hemisphere, generally as a symbiont with pine plantations, and is now a true cosmopolitan species. It associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees. The quintessential toadstool, it is a large imposing white-gilled, white-spotted, usually deep red mushroom, one of the most recognizable and widely encountered in popular culture. Though generally considered poisonous, Amanita muscaria is otherwise famed for its hallucinogenic properties with its main psychoactive constituent being the compound muscimol. Used as an intoxicant by the Koryaks of the Kamchatka Krai of eastern Siberia, the mushroom has had a religious significance in Siberian culture and possibly also in ancient Scandinavian culture. The American banker and amateur ethnomycologist R. Gordon Wasson proposed the fly agaric was in fact the Soma talked about in the ancient Rig Veda texts of India; although this theory has been refuted by anthropologists, it gained common credence when first published in 1968.