Amanita muscaria mushroom thrives in Arizona high country

Who says a fungus can’t be beautiful? Commonly known as the fly agaric or fly amanita, the Amanita muscaria astounds anyone who happens upon the fairly rare and incredibly beautiful toadstool-type mushroom.

Amanita muscaria mushroom from Arizona's Mogollon Rim
Amanita muscaria mushroom Photo by Patricia Thom

In Arizona, you’re best chances of seeing one are in higher elevation areas dense with pine trees, such as the Mogollon Rim.

Don’t be fooled by it’s gorgeous red and yellow hues, with white speckles. Although human deaths from ingesting it are extremely rare, this mushroom is classified as poisonous. The fly amanita is a psychoactive basidiomycete fungus – which means it contains hallucinogenic properties.

Bottom line, if you come across one in Arizona, you’re likely well off the beaten path. Take a few pics for bragging rights and leave it there.

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