There is an avenue of trees leading through a local housing estate, it's beneath these trees during the autumn period that groups of edible mushrooms are to be found. Local people out walking their dogs or making their way to the shops never stop to gather themselves a free meal on the way through. As a nation we are also unaware of the wide selection of different species of edible fungi there are to be found growing in our local parks. Consequently pitifully few local people forage the woodland tracks in search of edible fungi. "No one seems to know the real reason for our national distrust of fungi." This is a strange traditional taboo, when scores of people make their way to their local parks, to gather their annual quota of black berries, elder berries and sloes. However, it can rightly be assumed that in the recent past there have been several local horror stories circulated, and that these disaster warnings were echoed throughout the country. It was the introduction of food rationing during the war years that made way for a back to nature movement here in Britain. "Desperation is the English way," is a quote from the pop group Pink Floyd. Unfortunately with only a few age-old proxy methods of identifying poisonous fungi, deadly species such as the Death cap, Amanita phalloides, found its way on to the dinning table. Consequently, between 1920-50 thirty-nine mortalities were recorded by the Register General for England and Wales. Furthermore, most if not all of these mortalities were attributed to the deadly toxins of Amanita phalloides. As an experiment I decided to have an imaginary dabble at Russian roulette. Writing the names of fifty common species of fungi on to a sheet of paper, cut and folded they were then added to a vessel and given a shake. It was then only a matter of how many dips were needed to take Amanita phalloides from the vessel. This experiment might well have recreated the scene a few hours before those hungry back to nature victims ate their last meals. The Death cap's availability will vary from season to season. Consequently in some parts of the country the chances of finding Death caps might be far greater than finding this species locally and visa versa. For example the Death cap is very common in Hockley woods in Essex. Locally however the Death cap had only made brief local appearances over the past few seasons, and that it had appeared in only one solitary area of the park. However, so abundantly common are False Death caps in the park that the Death cap could be easily over looked, especially if it grew in amongst the former species. It was in the late summer of 1995, and just inside the entrance gate to the park that there was the usual troop of False Death caps. Two of the specimens however appeared to be slightly larger than the rest. But for the reason mentioned above, this casual observation didn't compel me to take a closer look. I had passed this troop several more times before the larger specimens began to appear somehow different to the extent of my having to examine one of the specimens. To my surprise I discovered this fungus had no smell. So it was with caution that I took a small piece of flesh from the cap and began to chew it. The False Death cap has a distinct smell which varies in intensity with the amount of humidity in the air. In south-east Essex it either smells of raw potato, or it has a combination of smells resembling rotten peas and sweet perfume. It also has a particularly nasty flavour. I was now almost convinced that this fungus was a Death cap, because together with no smell it had no flavour. Having removed the whole of the fruit body from the soil, I confirmed my initial discovery by noting that the base of the stipe had a loose fitting jacket, a feature missing from the volva of the False Death cap. It was only a few seconds after my gruesome discovery that I spat out the flesh of this fungus. I then made my way to a near by tap and gave my mouth a thorough rinse-out. This disclosure may convince the reader of just how easy it is to dabble with the deadly toxins of "AMANITA PHALLOIDES."