Fly agaric is a remarkably striking bright coloured toadstool, of which we’ve seen several specimens in this damp English autumn.
According to Wikipedia this fungus is not edible unless suitably treated. It also contains psychoactive substances, historically used for this effect in some cultures.
It is said that this fungus was used, mixed with milk, for getting rid of flies, which were attracted to the psychoactive chemicals, hence the name. Or alternatively the ‘fly’ came from the psychedelic effects of eating it.
An agaric is a type of fungus characterized by a cap that is clearly differentiated from the stalk, with gills on the underside of the cap.