A species of red and white toadstool called Amanita muscaria—also known as fly agaric—was found by presenter Titchmarsh on a private 40-acre plot during filming of The Queen’s Garden, which will be broadcast on ITV on Christmas Day.
On the programme, Titchmarsh asks ecology expert Professor Mick Crawley: “Is it edible?”
Prof Crawley replies: “That depends what you mean. It’s eaten in some culture for its hallucinogenic effects. But it also makes people who eat it very sick.
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“The old-fashioned thing to do was to feed it to the village idiot, then drink his urine because you get all of the high without any of the sickness.”
Titchmarsh, who never looks in danger of trying the psychoactive fungi, then says: “I think I’ll forego that and stick to normal mushrooms... not something to try at home.”
A spokesman for Buckingham Palace said: “For the avoidance of doubt, fungi from the garden are not used in the Palace kitchens.”
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