TV Crew Spots Hallucinogenic at Queen's Palace
But 'magic' mushroom likely grew on its own, expert says
By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 14, 2014 3:40 PM CST
Britain's Queen Elizabeth II arrives for a garden party at Hillsborough Castle, Northern Ireland, Tuesday, June, 24, 2014.   (AP Photo/Peter Morrison)

(Newser) – "Care for a mushroom, your highness?" Queen Elizabeth II may well decline after a television crew discovered a so-called "magic" mushroom in her palace gardens. "I won’t be eating any of that," said celebrity gardener Alan Titchmarsh upon noticing Amanita muscaria, a toadstool with red and white spots. Titchmarsh, who is hosting a show on Buckingham Palace's garden, asked ecology expert Mick Crawley whether the mushroom can be eaten, the Telegraph reports. "It’s eaten in some cultures for its hallucinogenic effects," says Crawley. "But it also makes people who eat it very sick. 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 later told the Sun that the surprise find shows "just how varied the species are. I won’t be eating any of that, though, no. My idea of hard drugs is Nurofen." But no one is accusing the queen's crew of growing such fungi on purpose. Titchmarsh says various toadstools and mushrooms sprout up on the 40-acre lot every time gardeners "chop something down" and "leave out the wood to rot." Palace officials issued a separate denial Friday, saying hundreds of mushroom species grow naturally in the garden, the AP reports. "For the avoidance of doubt, fungi from the garden are not used in the Palace kitchens," a spokesman says. (Need more royals? Click to see Christmas photos of the royal baby, Prince George.)