Thursday, October 30, 2008

I.D. THIS! Super Mario Bros. Mushroom


Amanita muscaria (I)
Originally uploaded by .Bambo.
Some of you may recognize this from your younger days, from a variety of sources. Someone in class recently drew the cartoonish version of the mushroom from Super Mario Bros on the chalk board and wrote "ID this!" next to it. Identifying plants is something very familiar to Landscape Architects (and students) so it's often a running joke. But we never ID mushrooms because they're hard to garden with.

Strangely enough, I am actually familiar with this mushroom. It was also featured in "The Smurfs" as the homes where the smurfs live in. In Super Mario Bros this mushroom makes Mario grow when he eats it. It's a power up. There are variations of the color that do different things for Mario. I think that the inspiration for this came from Alice in Wonderland when she ate a piece of a giant mushroom (where the smoking caterpillar sat on top of) from one side it would make her grow and if she ate a piece from the other side it would make her shrink. This particular mushroom is also seen in a lot of mystical art such as faerie art.

What's even stranger is that this mushroom is a very strong hallucinogenic used by Shamans in Siberia for religious purposes. It is also claimed to be the Soma mentioned in the Rig Veda of India as well as a claim of being used by Nordic Vikings. There are also some lesser backed claims about its use by Biblical figures such as Moses, Adam and Eve.

I wouldn't suggest consuming this. It is also considered poisonous and has been proven to induce cold sweats, vomiting and delirium for hours at a time. Maybe that's why only shamans would eat it, no one else wanted to!

Maybe there is some sort of strange connection to this mushroom's hallucinogenic properties and the relation it has with Super Mario Bros and the Smurfs as well as Alice in Wonderland. Or maybe it just looks really interesting and the rest is coincidence. I don't think we'll ever know.

But for whoever was ever curious about the Smurfs or curious about the Mario Bros Mushrooms and for whoever wrote that "ID this!" in class your mushroom has been Identified.

It is Amanita Muscaria also known as Fly Agaric (because it's also a fly poison)

2 comments:

Mona Hsieh said...

shut up!!! can you grow me one?

Anduhrew said...

I don't think so, but you can find them in California forests. In so cal it would be in Canyon areas where there are a lot of trees and water.