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8 Deadly Toxic Mushrooms

Watch out for these 8 deadly toxic mushrooms when foraging! When learning to forage it is important to learn to identify the toxic ones first, as it will help when looking for edible mushrooms. Making note of the habitats they live in. Many mushrooms look alike, especially during the early stages of a mushroom, but if you know what you're looking for you'll be able to distinguish them from toxic mushrooms and safe to eat mushrooms. The mushrooms I will be discussing are mushrooms that are found in the northern part of the world like America, Europe and Asia. Each mushroom will have a description of where they can be found, what season they are found in, description of colors, shape, spore print, and also what affects each mushroom has on the body when ingested. In this case these mushrooms can lead to death. I hope you enjoy this small introduction to poisonous mushrooms!

Before we get to the mushrooms let’s talk about what a mushroom is and the parts of a mushroom. A mushroom is a fleshy fungus found typically above ground. Don’t get confused, not all fungi are mushrooms, but all mushrooms are fungi. Mushroom and Toadstool are commonly used interchangeably but typically Toadstools refers to poisonous mushrooms. They come in many shapes, sizes and colors. Mushrooms more closely resemble animals than plants since they do not have chlorophyll and they feed on organic matter, though they lack a nervous system, specialized organs and mobility. They are kinda weird. They reproduce by spores which can be found internally and externally on the gills. A typical Gilled mushroom has a cap, gills, a stalk (stem), and sometimes will have a veil and may also form a ring or vulva. Mushrooms that are not fully developed yet are called buttons! The names of the mushrooms I will be discussing are introduced as their scientific Latin name, it’s important to know the Latin name as one mushroom can have multiple common names that are different around the world. The first name of the mushroom tells you it’s Genus and the last name tells you it’s Species. Now that that’s out the way let’s dive into mushrooms.

8 kinds of deadly poisonous mushrooms to look out for!

Amanita Pantherina: also known as “The Panther'', “Panther Amanita” and “False Blusher” is named after its spotted brown cap that resembles a panther's fur. This mushroom is an uncommon species but can be found in Europe and Western Asia, on ground in deciduous woods and occasionally on heathland during late summer and autumn. This mushroom has a brown cap, sometimes a grayish brown with an olive tinge. The cap also has white scaly spots that can be removed when rubbed and the stem of the mushroom is white. The cap of the mushroom is convex when young then the cap flattens out the more mature it gets. The stem is cylindrical but slightly thicker at the base, there is a white ring attached at the middle of the stem and it has a vulva at the base which is white but becomes gray with age. The spore print of this mushroom is white. Amanita Panthera has no odor and can be very poisonous when ingested, sometimes deadly. Ingesting A. Pantherina can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and hyperhidrosis which can cause dehydration. The mushroom also contains the psychoactive compounds Ibotenic Acid and Muscimol which can cause you to have hallucinations, synesthesia, euphoria, dysphoria and retrograde amnesia.

Amanita Phalloides: also known as “Death Cap”, “Stinking Amanita”, and “Deadly Amanita”. It is one of the most poisonous mushrooms, even in small amounts the Death Cap can kill an adult when ingested. Originally found in Europe during the summer and autumn but it has since been introduced to other parts of the world. They can grow in solitary or in groups or even scattered. You can find them in woodlands especially under oak trees. They form a symbiotic relationship with many broadleaved trees. The cap is greenish-brownish in color, kind of olive yellow and the center is often darker. It has white free gills that also has a tinge of faint green and a white skirtlike ring. The stem is white with a zig zag pattern that tapers upwards or can be equal with a larger base. The cap can be convex shaped or flat, smooth and shiny when dry. The stem is thicker at the base with a thin vulva-like sack that is buried in the ground. The spore print is white. Amanita Phalloides has white flesh with an unpleasant and sickly smell as it ages but has been reported to have a faint honey sweet smell when young. If ingested it will target the liver and kidneys, symptoms of poisoning can be delayed 6-12 hours.

Amanita Virosa: also known as the “Destroying Angel”, “Death Angel” and “European Destroying Angel Amanita” is a fully white mushroom with a shaggy fibrous stem that has a ring and a large sack like vulva. It can be found in solidarity or in small groups on the ground in deciduous woods, on mossy grounds and under oaks during summer and autumn. The cap and steam are both white. When young the cap of Amanita Virosa is small and convex then expands outwards becoming smooth and white with a silky sheen. As it ages the cap often discolors to a pinkish, yellowish or brownish, especially around the center. Its gills are white and adnate or adnexed at first, sometimes becoming free with age. The stem is slim slightly widening downwards towards the swollen base. The stem can often be found curved and shaggy, it also has a fragile ring that soon becomes frayed and torn with age and a sac like vulva that is membranous and has a white or grayish tinge. The spore print is white. Amanita Virosa has a white flesh that turns bright yellow in potassium hydroxide and has a nauseating sweetish smell to them. It is deadly poisonous and should not be consumed. Symptoms can be delayed damaging to the liver and kidneys.

Cortinarius Rubellus, formally known as Cortinarius Speciosissimus: also known as the “Foxy Orange Cortinarius” or “Deadly Webcap”. It is uncommon but can be found in coniferous woodland sitting among mosses during autumn. It has a pointy tawny brown reddish cap that is more yellowish towards the margin. Its gills are caramel colored or ochre that deepens in color when it ages. The stem is ochre to tawny brown, paler than the cap with a yellow veil, forming patches over the lower region. The cap is convex to conical and scaly with a raised center. The stem is slightly thicker towards the base. The spore print is cinnamon brown, to a creamy yellow. The flesh of C Rubellus is yellowish and has a faint smell of radish. C Rubellus is deadly poisonous and can result in kidney failure that is irreversible, it also attacks the liver.

Gyromitra Esculenta: also known as “Turban Fungus”, “Brain Mushroom” or the “False Morel”. Found in conifers like pines and growing on sandy soil in solitary or in groups and also occasionally in deciduous woods. You can find the mushrooms during the late spring and summer. When young the cap is nearly smooth, as it matures the cap becomes grooved, looking brain-like. It is reddish brown, and the stem is short and whitish, pale flesh colored, reddish or sometimes the same color as the cap which is irregularly grooved or smoothed vertically. The flesh is thin and brittle with a hollow or chamber like interior that’s white and the spore print is white. It lacks a distinctive smell but has been described to taste fruity. Poisonous when eaten raw and can sometimes be harmful after cooking. Symptoms of poisoning can be gastrointestinal or psychological and in more severe cases can lead to kidney damage, liver damage and neurological dysfunction that can develop 1-3 days after eating. Even though symptoms vary from person to person it’s safer not to eat it.

Pholiotina Rugosa formally named Conocybe Filaris: also known as “Thread Cone Cap” or “Deadly Conocybe”. Can be found on clay soil and often found in pastures, wood chips, flower beds and compost during the summer and autumn months. The Cap is cinnamon brown becoming paler on drying while the steam is cream colored becoming chestnut brown below. The gills are adnexed and colored rusty brown. The cap is conical to convex and is smooth with striations at the margin. The stem is slender with a membranous ring on the stem that is midway centered. The spore print is rusty brown and the flesh is thin and brown. It is very poisonous and toxic to the liver and is stated to be deadly.

Inosperma Erubescens formerly known as Innocybe Patouillardii: also known as “Deadly Fiber Cap”, and “Red Staining Inocybe”. Found in groups in pastureland and also associated with beach trees. The cap is white when young and becomes yellowish to brown as it ages and the stem is a smooth white that becomes discolored as it ages to red. The caps shape is conical to bell shaped with a pointed center and adnexed gills that are first white then darken to an olive brown with age. The stem is cylindrical with no ring. The spore print is cinnamon brown. This mushroom is poisonous and can be deadly since it has a higher dose of the toxin Muscarine than the Amanita Muscaria. When picked and handled it will stain red.

Galerina Unicolor: also known as “Margínate Galerina”, “Funeral Bell”, “Deadly Skull Cap”, “Autumn Skull Cap", and “Deadly Galerina”. It can be found clustered on dead wood and twigs in coniferous woods during the autumn. The cap is smooth brown becoming paler to a yellowish or pale tan center as it ages. The stem is paler above the ring and darker below. The shape of the cap is convex, or bell shaped then expands outwards as it matures. The gills are adnate with a pale brown to ochre color. The stem is uniform, sometimes slightly wider at the base, and has a membranous ring on the stem. The flesh is a pale brown, and its spore print is also brown. It’s deadly poisonous, the toxins accumulate in the liver causing liver dysfunction, and also causes liver failure.

**When picking mushrooms always wash your hands and wear gloves just in case. Mushrooms can decay quickly so when you are observing make sure to do most of your observations before picking and further examining. If you are unsure about a mushroom do not pick! But make note of the shape, color and environment and write them down in a notebook.**


Thank you for taking the time to read! Hope to see you next month. I have a part two post on mushrooms this month, something less wordy and more fun! So be on the lookout! Check out new items in my shop below! If you have any comments or concerns regarding this post, feel free to message. All images included are created by me.

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