Pineal fly agaric is a rare representative of conditionally edible mushrooms of the Amanitov family (another name is Amanitovs). Like all its brethren, it has a characteristic hat covered with small white warts - the remnants of a shell. Mostly the fungus grows on alkaline soils of mixed forests of the European continent. This is a fairly large and noticeable representative of the family. The pineal fly agaric is a rare species.
Description of pineal fly agaric
Outwardly, the pineal fly agaric resembles an ordinary red one. The main differences are only in the color of the cap. In the species under consideration, it has a gray or white color. The height and other dimensions of the fruit bodies are approximately the same.
The pineal fly agaric has a lamellar hymenophore characteristic of the Amanite. It grows mainly in mixed forests, forming mycorrhiza with spruce, oak or beech. Prefers sunny areas with rich soils. A photo of the pineal fly agaric is presented below:
Description of the hat
The cap has a diameter of 5 to 16 cm. Like all Amanitovs, at the beginning of the life cycle of the fruiting body, it has the shape of a hemisphere. Further, it straightens, and it gradually becomes at first convex, and then almost flat. Over time, the cap of the pineal fly agaric bends even more, a notch appears in it.
The stem of the pineal fly agaric has a cylindrical shape, sometimes tapering towards the top. In some cases, there is a significant thickening of the pedicle at the base. Its length can reach 16 cm, and its diameter reaches 3.5 cm.
The entire length of the leg is covered with "flakes", consisting of many scales that have lagged behind the pulp. One gets the impression that they form a kind of shingles. The leg is equipped with the same flaky ring that falls off after the edges of the cap are bent up. When the leg is cut, the color of the pulp does not change in air.
Doubles and their differences
All representatives of the Amanitov family are very similar to each other. Therefore, we can safely say that the pineal fly agaric is easy to confuse with any other mushroom from this group. Almost all members of the family are poisonous mushrooms, so you should be very careful not to let them fall into the basket when picking.
Another name is saffron fly agaric. Most often, this twin is found in mixed forests on soils with high humidity. Forms mycorrhiza with birch, oak and spruce.
Slightly smaller than the pineal, the cap is 3 to 12 cm in diameter. Its color can vary from bright orange, which makes it look like the classic red fly agaric, to light cream.
The entire surface of the cap is shiny, covered with small warts. The leg is up to 15 cm long, no more than 2 cm in diameter. It has a cylindrical shape, slightly narrowed at the top. The mushroom has practically no smell.
Attention! The characteristic difference between the float and other fly agarics is the absence of a ring on the leg.
It is considered a conditionally edible mushroom of good quality. In its raw form, it is poisonous, requires compulsory boiling for at least 30 minutes. Cannot be stored, mushrooms must be processed immediately after harvest.
A poisonous mushroom, which is more dangerous than the classic red one, since it has a 2-4 times higher concentration of toxins. Outwardly it resembles all members of the family, however, it is smaller and has a characteristic color feature. This type of hat is colored light brown.
The diameter of the cap rarely exceeds 10 cm. The height of the leg can be up to 13 cm, and the width is up to 1.5 cm. The leg always has a conical shape - from below it has a tuberous swollen base. The ring on the stem exists throughout the life of the fruiting body.
Another pleasant exception to the Amanitovs: this species is also edible. It grows in almost all forests of the Middle Belt. The diameter of the cap reaches a record 25 cm, the weight of one specimen sometimes exceeds 200 g.
The difference from many similar species is the rather large flakes on the cap, which are not characteristic of either panther or red fly agaric. On the other hand, since the mushroom looks very similar to many other poisonous species, it is not recommended to collect it in order to avoid accidents.
Where and how does the pineal fly agaric grow
The fungus is found in only a few places on the planet, quite distant from each other. It can only be found in some regions of Eurasia:
- on the west coast of France;
- on the border of Latvia and Estonia;
- in the eastern part of Georgia;
- on the south of Ukraine;
- in the Novooskolsk and Valuisky districts of the Belgorod region;
- in the center and east of Kazakhstan.
On other continents, the pineal fly agaric does not occur. The fungus never grows on acidic soils, and also does not tolerate too harsh climates. It is considered a very rare species listed in the Red Book.
In mixed forests, it grows mainly on forest edges and near paths. It is more common much less often. In deciduous forests, it can be found almost anywhere. Usually grows in small groups, solitary mushrooms have almost never been observed.
Edible pineal fly agaric or poisonous
The debate about whether it is possible to eat this mushroom does not subside to this day. Formally, it is not poisonous, it refers to conditionally edible. But it cannot be consumed in its raw form, since without heat treatment its effect on the body is similar to the red fly agaric. The pineal fly agaric can be eaten only after heat treatment (boiling) for at least half an hour.
Poisoning symptoms and first aid
The symptomatology of intoxication is similar to the red fly agaric. This is the so-called 2nd type of poisoning. It manifests itself in 0.5-6 hours after eating mushrooms and has the following manifestations:
- nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain;
- profuse salivation;
- constriction of the pupils.
If the poisoning has become severe, the symptoms are added:
- shortness of breath, separation of bronchial secretions;
- drop in pulse and blood pressure;
- dizziness, confusion, hallucinations.
In the event of such symptoms, it is necessary to call an ambulance as soon as possible and try to remove from the body the toxic substances that were contained in the mushrooms.
Attention! Removing mushroom poisons from the body at home is permissible only at the level of provoking vomiting or gastric lavage. These activities must be carried out before the arrival of the ambulance.
In order to induce vomiting, it is necessary to provide the victim with plenty of drink (warm salt water in an amount of up to 2 liters) and press your finger on the root of the tongue. It is advisable to repeat the procedure several times, then give activated charcoal in the amount of 1-2 tablets per 1 kg of body weight.
Interesting facts about the pineal fly agaric
Of the interesting facts about the mushroom in question, several can be noted. First of all, this is the disjunctive area of its distribution, which has already been mentioned. Despite the sufficient remoteness of local distribution areas, fungi in each of the habitats retain the same size and appearance.
Another interesting feature of the pineal fly agaric is its love for alkaline soils. This is not characteristic of the "indigenous" inhabitants of the European continent, which has predominantly acidic soils. Perhaps the mushroom is of North American origin, its spores somehow accidentally ended up in Europe, although its population is not currently recorded in North America.
Another option that explains both the disjunctive range and calciphilicity may be that the pineal fly agaric is endemic to the coast of the Bay of Biscay, accidentally spreading across Europe.
In addition, due to the low content of muscimol and ibotenic acid (concentrations are about 5-10 times lower than those for the red fly agaric), it is difficult to classify the mushroom as hallucinogenic. This opens up its use in traditional medicine without serious consequences for patients. Dried fly agaric is used to treat open wounds. In addition, a decoction of dried mushrooms is used in the treatment of joint pain, migraine headaches, and oncological diseases.
And, of course, like all fly agarics, pineal has insecticidal properties. In the areas where the fungus grows, flying insects are practically not found. Alkaloids of the fungus, dissolved in water, induce long-term sleep in them, lasting up to 12 hours. During this time, unlucky arthropods, who decided to drink water from amanitas, become prey for ants, hedgehogs or birds.
The pineal fly agaric is a rare mushroom of the Amonitov family, which, due to the low concentration of toxins, is classified as conditionally edible. It has an intermittent habitat and grows only in places where the necessary conditions exist for it: alkaline soil and relatively mild winters. Thanks to its constituent substances, the mushroom is used in folk medicine.