Nestled between Benny Benson School and Campbell Creek, Alaska Botanical Garden volunteers have carved out cultivated oases in the midst of a boreal birch forest. Despite the herb beds, perennial planters, and native offerings, I thought the gardens would have been more aptly named Alaska Amanita Gardens this fall. Amanita muscaria specimens were growing everywhere. I finally had to put my camera in my pocket and force myself to stop taking pictures of them. I did manage to capture a few snaps of other autumn treats, too, but not many.
I was just checking the internet to make sure I had the mushroom's name spelled correctly, and did a quick perusal of the Wikipedia page on Amanita. I'd always known that these beautiful yellow, orange, and red mushrooms were poisonous, but apparently very few deaths have been attributed to eating them. In fact, they're eaten parboiled in Europe. I'd heard that the poison is concentrated in the white spots on the cap; I wonder if they're edible if those are trimmed off? I don't think I'll try them to find out, even if native Siberians use them for their hallucinogenic properties.