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The enchanting world of mushrooms

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KEEN INTEREST: Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adoor Prakash (right) at the mushroom fair on Tuesday. - Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar
KEEN INTEREST: Food and Civil Supplies Minister Adoor Prakash (right) at the mushroom fair on Tuesday. - Photo: C. Ratheesh Kumar

Amanita Phalloides or death cap, a greyish coloured mushroom with fibrills on the surface of the cap, is considered to be one of the most toxic among all mushroom varieties in the world.

The mushroom, discovered recently from Western Ghat region of Palode, is one among several varieties on display here at a three-day awareness programme and exhibition on mushrooms organised by the Tropical Botanic Garden and Research Institute (TBGRI).

Interestingly, according to the officials of the TBGRI, there is no reliable method to identify the toxicity of a mushroom. "The only reliable source is indigenous knowledge," said Sunil Kumar, research assistant. But then the variation is not just limited to toxicity alone.

Amanita Muscaria, a reddish coloured mushroom, also found in the Western Ghats, is said to induce a hallucinogenic effect on the users, while paddy straw mushroom, a variety that sprouts on paddy straws is said to have the characteristic property of Agino Moto. The three-day exhibition will conclude on Thursday.

SANGEETH KURIAN

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