Giant mushroom found in Hungary

Local News

A giant mushroom was found in Hungary; the New York Times spotted the fly agaric on Facebook.

The fly agaric is the quintessential mushroom of fairy tales.

Its big, bright fruiting bodies scatter in great numbers across mossy forests of North America and Europe. They emerge from the soil first like white eggs, abandoned by some mysterious creature of the woods. They can grow up to a foot tall, as warts appear on the cap. The mushroom often blushes red in the process.

Finally, they crack open and flatten into a polka-dot disc that would make a gnome’s perfect dinner plate.

Recently mushroom hunters and nature lovers have been sharing photos of their fly agaric finds on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Perhaps the most striking images came from Hungary, in a Facebook post, which included a video and a photo of a mushroom as big as a child.

For many Eastern Europeans, mushroom hunting is a tradition. For some, it’s also a way to earn extra cash. For Csaba Reisz, a fertilizer salesman and soil nutrition consultant in southern Hungary, it’s escape from work stress. “I make everything right with a little mushroom hunting and photo shooting,” he wrote in an email.


“I found the fairy in the fairy-tale forest,” he wrote in a caption for the image above.

These giant shrooms typically pop up in acidic soils near spruce, oak or birch trees and when they get enough rain. While Mr. Reisz admires them, he probably won’t be feeding these magical-looking mushrooms to his children. They contain two mind-altering neurotoxins called ibotenic acid and muscimol which are known to affect humans and other animals.

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