Amanita muscaria, otherwise known as Fly Agaric, is one of the most famous fungi in the world – thanks to its “magical” properties from growing mushrooms, this mushroom is known for its use in ritual, religion as in Sacred Mushrooms, and as the possible inspiration of many of our most treasured legends, even today in cultivation circles.
But, before we get ahead of ourselves on the topic of growing mushrooms or on growing mushrooms, just a quick note of clarification: the title of this article is somewhat hyperbolic; A. muscaria isn’t totally and completely impossible to cultivate, it’s just very difficult for cultivation. People tend not to do it unless they’re extremely dedicated to the process or happen to have access to the “just so” conditions required by A. muscaria.
Of course, to cultivate this particular mushroom (however painstaking it may be for cultivation,) one must also live in a jurisdiction where doing so is legal.
➢ Read more about special mushroom spores legality.
Amanita muscaria is illegal in several areas throughout the United States (for example in Louisiana).
At the time of this writing, A. muscaria is an unregulated, unscheduled, uncontrolled substance. In other words, it’s legal in most areas for mushroom spores, but, we encourage our readers to do their own research and due diligence before interacting with any kind of fungi and encourage learning information on mushroom potency.
With that being said, let’s learn a bit more about Amanita muscaria and about the special mushroom industry in particular, how it differs from “regular” mushrooms. After that, we’ll delve into why this particular mushroom is so difficult to cultivate.
What is Amanita Muscaria, and How Does it Differ From Regular Mushrooms?
A. muscaria is a fairly common mushroom in the northern and southern hemispheres. Typically found in temperate regions, A. muscaria recognizable by even those with a passing interest in mycology: the fruiting body is large, red, and dotted with white spots.
This fungi seems to have been a part of popular culture no matter what time frame you’re looking at—A. muscaria famously inspired the “power up” mushroom in the Mario Brothers video games, but has also been found featured in cave paintings discovered in its native regions.
Fly agaric contains no illegal substance. Despite its reputation, it is not, in fact, considered a special mushroom. It is, however, psychoactive, with effects we’ll describe in a moment. It would be more accurate to call A. muscaria a deleriant, rather than a special. To make things even more confusing, A. muscaria is considered an entheogen and, since it does have an effect on ones mental state, very well may be called a mushroom as well.
The active compounds found in A. muscaria are ibotenic acid and muscimol. When consumed fresh, A. muscaria has a sedative effect and can cause what has been described as “delerium,” or a dreamlike state of consciousness. Objects may appear larger or smaller than they actually are, and one’s sense of time may be distorted. Some psychonauts have had trouble describing the effects. It’s not like a hallucinogenic mushroom, but things certainly feel “weird.”
A wave of euphoria may mark the beginning of the trip, but several hours later the sedation sets in. The individual experiencing the effects may slip in and out of sleep, often having incredibly vivid dreams which have been described as “bizarre”.
Why Amanita Muscaria is Rarely Used in Mushroom Cultivation
Despite its comparatively lax legal standing and powerful effects from mushroom grow kits, A. muscaria isn’t typically cultivated.
This is because the mushroom fungi requires a very specific environment to grow in it’s common environment in the wild, but not typically something one can recreate in a lab or even in a back yard, at least not with considerable trial-and-error and planning.
It’s just a more difficult Mushroom Cultivation Growing Project.
A. muscaria has a symbiotic relationship to the trees which surround it; most often birch or pine. The relationship is so strong that the trees are often referred by mycologists as the host trees to the fungi. Along with specific soil composition, light, temperature, and moisture requirements, cultivating fly agaric in a laboratory or even in a back yard garden can prove exceedingly difficult unless one happens to be doing so in an area where A. muscaria may grow naturally.
Difficulty In Cultivating Mushrooms
The difficulty of growing fly agaric or in cultivating seems to compound the problem for interested cultivators; since not many people—including seasoned mycologists—have actually done it, little research on artificial cultivation methods exists. Anecdotal bits and pieces can be found throughout the internet and in books, but there are no “step by step” instructions as one might find with, say, a culinary mushroom species.
Furthermore, preserving fly agaric mushrooms (such as by drying) has been shown to nullify the effects of the psychoactive compounds in it, and thus one must consume it fresh to feel them. This, we would wager, also contributes to the relatively low levels of interest in A. muscaria cultivation.
Having said all that, since fly agaric is available in the wild throughout so many portions of the world, most interested parties simply choose to forage for it rather than go through the process of attempting to cultivate this particular mushroom.
Interested in Learning About More Traditional Cubensis Mushrooms? Here’s How to Begin
As fascinating as Amanita muscaria is, the study of the more “common” mushrooms, are not only extremely interesting, but the means to do so are far more readily available.
While mushroom cultivation is illegal in almost all jurisdictions, purchasing, possessing, and studying their spores is not; the spores contain no illegal substances.