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Updated 15 December 2014

Is the Queen growing magic mushrooms?

Buckingham Palace has been home to many royals but it turns out that Queen Elizabeth's main residence is also home to another form of highness - magic mushrooms...

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A species of hallucinogenic mushroom has been found growing wild in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, the main residence of Britain's Queen Elizabeth.

Film-makers stumbled across the red and white speckled fly agaric fungus as they shot footage in the 40-acre private estate for a documentary entitled "The Queen's Garden" to be screened by broadcaster ITV on Christmas Day.

"That was a surprise but it shows just how varied the species are," presenter Alan Titchmarsh told Friday's edition of popular tabloid newspaper The Sun.

ITV said on its website: "Fly agaric are a common species and are understood to have grown naturally in the palace grounds rather than having been planted there."

The species, whose botanical name is amanita muscaria, is thought to have been first named for its use in parts of Europe as an insecticide, according to Britain's Royal Botanical Gardens at Kew, southwest London.

"Fly agaric is well known to contain psychoactive alkaloids, and has a long history of use in Asia and parts of northern Europe for religious and recreational purposes," it adds on its website.

A Buckingham Palace spokesman said: "There are several hundred fungi species in the palace garden, including a small number of naturally occurring fly agaric mushrooms."


Read more:
Scientists find out how magic mushrooms affect the mind
Magic mushroom trial hits stumbling block
Magic mushrooms may be beneficial


Image: Magic mushroom in the forest from Shutterstock

 
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