The ‘shrooms of Yule, postponed

Jan 02, 2014
Happy travels in the New Year and more will be explored in Rockland Public Library’s Wild Mushrooms of the Yuletide Season presentation.


Local mushroom expert and author Greg Marley will offer a Wild Mushrooms of the Yuletide Season presentation Thursday, Jan. 2, at 6:30 p.m. in the Friends Community Room of Rockland Public Library, 80 Union St.

Thoughts of wild mushrooms bring to mind widely different images and emotions in people. Some dwell the possibilities of tasty gourmet dinners of chanterelles or King Boletes foraged from the Maine woods; for others, the risk of poisonous mushrooms and the potential for illness comes first to mind.   And the more adventurous sort may imagine the magic mushrooms and a very different toxic experience. But few people are aware of the deep connection between mushrooms and the Christmas season.

The most frequently illustrated mushroom is the bright red and white Amanita muscaria, the Fly Agaric. It graces the cover and pages of children’s books, fantasy illustrations and can even be glimpsed dancing across the screen of certain computer games. In Central Europe, this colorful and distinctive mushroom has long been a symbol of good fortune for the New Year and often adorns decorations during the Christmas season.

Is there a reason we see Santa as a rotund man garbed in bright red and pristine white, the living image of this Christmas mushroom? And why is he pulled across the sky by flying reindeer? Marley will offer answers to these intriguing questions; explore wild edible, medicinal and poisonous mushrooms; and reveal the connections of mushrooms to the Yuletide season in an entertaining blend of fact, fantasy and supposition for all ages.   Copies of his books will be available for sale after the presentation.

Courier Publications’ A&E Editor Dagney C. Ernest can be reached at (207) 594-4401, ext. 115; or

Comments (0)
If you wish to comment, please login.