Amanita phalloides is a poisonous basidiomycete fungus, one of many in
the genus Amanita. Widely distributed across Europe, A. phalloides
associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees. Adaptations
have expanded its range outside of Europe after it was accidentally
introduced alongside oak, chestnut, and pine. The large fruiting
bodies (i.e. the mushrooms) appear in summer and autumn; the caps are
generally greenish in colour, with a white stipe and gills.
Unfortunately, these toxic mushrooms resemble several edible species
commonly consumed by humans, increasing the risk of accidental
poisoning. A. phalloides is one of the most poisonous of all known
toadstools. It has been involved in the majority of human deaths from
mushroom poisoning, including the Roman Emperor Claudius and Holy
Roman Emperor Charles VI. It has been the subject of much research and
many of its biologically active agents have been isolated. The
principal toxic constituent is α-amanitin, which damages the liver and
kidneys, often fatally. No antidote is known.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Belisarius and his legions defeated Gelimer and the Vandals at the
Battle of Ad Decimum near Carthage, and began the "Reconquest of the
West" under Eastern Roman Emperor Justinian I.
War of 1812: The bombardment of Fort McHenry during the Battle of
Baltimore inspired Francis Scott Key to write "The Star-Spangled
Banner," which later became the national anthem of the United States.
IBM unveiled the 305 RAMAC (Random Access Method of Accounting and
Control), the first commercial computer that used magnetic disk
Goiânia accident: A radioactive item was stolen from an abandoned
hospital in Goiânia, Brazil, contaminating hundreds of people.
After rounds of secret negotiations in Norway, PLO leader Yasser
Arafat and Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin (pictured with U.S.
President Bill Clinton) formally signed the Oslo Peace Accords.
Wiktionary's Word of the day:
fermata: (music): A notation to hold a note for longer than its usual
duration, until the conductor cuts it off.
Wikiquote of the day:
Worldly renown is naught but a breath of wind, which now comes this
way and now comes that, and changes name because it changes quarter.
-- Dante Alighieri