I was scared I'd actually get Fire Power. I wouldn't know what to do with that kind of superiority.
June 23, 2012 3:58 PM   Subscribe

Was I hallucinating? When I was a little kid in Army housing in Bamberg, Germany I saw a "Fire Flower" while I was out playing. Any help would be appreciated.

It looked like a Fire Flower from Super Mario Bros. I told my mom who of course patted me on the head and rolled her eyes.

I really did see something though. It was flat, red, and about a foot and a half off the ground. The fuzzy picture in my memory makes it seem vaguely pizza looking. I was warned away from touching all kinds of odd plants, so I didn't get very close or study it.

Is there any fungus or flower in that area of the world that has a similar look? This has been bugging me for a really long time and I'd like to solve the mystery once and for all.
posted by TooFewShoes to Science & Nature (14 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
A large Amanita muscaria, maybe? The cap becomes more disk-like as they mature.
posted by Sidhedevil at 4:04 PM on June 23, 2012

A fire flower for any botanists or mycologists who aren't into old video games.
posted by contraption at 4:18 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

Thanks contraption!
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:27 PM on June 23, 2012

You mean flat like a mushroom, or flat like a lollipop?
posted by Sys Rq at 4:27 PM on June 23, 2012

Flat like a pizza. I remember thinking it looked like a pizza on a stem. I think it must have been a mushroom, but I really remember it having a stem like a flower.
posted by TooFewShoes at 4:32 PM on June 23, 2012

Hmm. I lived in Bamberg myself in my early years (late 70s/early 80s) and I don't recall seeing anything like you describe. I would definitely be interested on seeing whether anyone else recalls such a thing.
posted by Telpethoron at 4:32 PM on June 23, 2012

A poppy?
posted by Alison at 5:20 PM on June 23, 2012

Definitely not a poppy. The surface seemed to be one piece. That's why I'm thinking some kind of mushroom.
posted by TooFewShoes at 7:07 PM on June 23, 2012

Lantana camara?
posted by Xere at 7:46 PM on June 23, 2012 [1 favorite]

This Amanita muscaria is pretty "pizza on a stem", and likely to be found in Germany. They are sometimes mottled red and orange, which seems fire flower-like. Another mature specimen here.
posted by Sidhedevil at 7:52 PM on June 23, 2012 [2 favorites]

I'm not a mycologist, but I spend a lot of time in the forests in the region Bamberg is in, and I agree that Amanita muscaria is the likely answer if it's a mushroom. I've only seen them in the wild a few times, but they're common enough in the area for there to be a word for them in at least one of the regional dialects.

But maybe it was a variation of Mycena rosea or Rot Kappe?
posted by cmonkey at 1:11 AM on June 24, 2012 [1 favorite]

I've encountered Amanita Muscaria in the woods in Alaska and it's definitely striking and alien-looking enough to make a strong impression on a young child, especially if it was a rarity that you'd never encountered before in the area. Is there a reason you think it's not that, TooFewShoes?
posted by contraption at 1:45 AM on June 24, 2012

I'm a little skeptical, but it really must have been Amanita Muscaria. The picture cmonkey linked to is the closest I've seen. I'd done a lot of running around in forests and seen the younger version of that mushroom, but if this one was older it could look like that. I guess the way that water makes the warts run could make it puddle in circular shapes.
posted by TooFewShoes at 10:25 AM on June 24, 2012

The Amanita muscaria is also found colored in a gradient, particularly going from yellow to red. I know them from the northern peninsula of Michigan. And that 39cm width (15.5") is real, for sure, on the large end of the scale.
posted by Goofyy at 7:10 AM on June 25, 2012

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