Poisonous Mushrooms: The Common 4 You Should Watch Out For

From tasty meals to medicines, mushrooms have benefited us since ancient times. However, not all mushrooms provided great benefits. There is a lot of poisonous mushrooms that brought us harm. Some had even killed their hungry victims. 

Many of us like foraging mushrooms. After all, obtaining these delicious mushrooms is fun and satisfying. However, it is also important to be very careful. Especially since these deadly fungi can copy the appearance of their edible versions. Thus, you should know what’s a toxic fungus and what’s not. Here are four common poisonous mushrooms you should watch out for.

Death Cap

First in the list of poisonous mushrooms is the Death Cap. As the name suggests, this small white mushroom can kill an adult man. It contains amanitin that can withstand heat. This deadly fungus’ symptoms can appear within 6-24 hours. Worst of all, even if you cook or dry it, it is still equally toxic as the raw ones. They are originally from Europe but they are now found in North America. Plus, they can also live in urban places close to humans.

Poisonous Mushroom Appearance

Poisonous Mushroom Death Cap

The Death Cap has a round silver cap and a pure white stem. It grows under bushes and shrubs close to the ground. The edible Straw mushroom and Caesar’s mushroom are its look-alikes. 

Poisonous Mushroom Symptoms

  • Nausea
  • Violent abdominal pain
  • Vomiting
  • Bloody diarrhea 
  • Rapid loss of fluid from the tissues
  • Intense thirst
  • Failing signs of the liver, kidneys, and central nervous system 
  • Decrease in urinary output 
  • Lowering of blood sugar 
  • Convulsions
  • Coma
  • Death

All of these symptoms can appear in a week. The most worrisome part of all is that you might feel fine for a while. The symptoms of the Death Cap may not act up in a short period making you think that you’re fine. However, they come back with the worst effects that can lead to organ failures and death. You can still recover from this, usually taking up to two weeks. But, this is one of the hardest to-get-over mushroom poisonings.

Destroying Angels

The next on our list is a member of the Amanita fungi species and a close relative of the Death Cap. It is commonly called Destroying Angels or sometimes Fool’s mushroom. They are usually found in Europe growing around springtime. It is also good to take note that its other Amanita siblings are very common in North America. They are usually found in forests of different kinds of coniferous trees. 

Like the Death Cap, Destroying Angels are as deadly. Its symptoms may take 5 hours up to 24 hours to appear. The ones in North America are considered the most toxic ones in the area. The damages it causes are usually irreversible in addition to being hard to cure.

Poisonous Mushroom Appearance

Poisonous Mushroom Destroying angel

Destroying Angels are all-white in color. They have a thick stem and a bulbous cap. At the base of their stem, these mushrooms have a broken membrane. They also have gills that are not attached to their stems. Puffballs, White Buttons, and meadow mushrooms are the edible look-alikes.

Poisonous Mushroom Symptoms

  • Vomiting
  • Delirium
  • Convulsions
  • Diarrhea
  • Liver and kidney failure
  • Death

Jack O’Lantern

Jack O’Lantern mushrooms are not as deadly as the first two on the list. But since they are very common and often thought to be edible, they are as harmful. They contain toxin illudin S and are found in Europe growing in clusters. 

These fungi are seen on the lower portion of hardwood trees. They are also found on decaying wood stumps and buried roots. Recent reports also show that these fungi are now found in South Africa. A similar version of these can also be found in North America called Omphalotus illudens.

Poisonous Mushroom Appearance

Poisonous Mushroom Jack O' latern

The most notable description of the Jack O’Lantern mushroom is its orange color. It also has sharp, non-forking gills that glow in the dark. Its bioluminescence gives off a blue-green color that is easily seen in the dark.

This fungus looks very similar to the edible Chanterelles. Their difference is that Chanterelles do not have gills and do not glow in the dark. Plus, if you peeled the stem, Chanterelles are pale on the inside. On the other hand, Jack O’Lantern is still orange.

Poisonous Mushroom Symptoms

  • Severe cramps
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea

False Morels

If you are a mushroom lover, you probably love morels. You might even know the best way to cook fresh Morel Mushrooms. But did you know they have a very poisonous look-alike? Like the True Morels, these False Morels appear during springtime and near dead trees.

However, not all False Morels are deadly. Some people hunt and cook them like the True Morels. It is common in Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. This is because not all False Morels have the same amount of poison in them. But it is indeed very risky because some have high toxic concentration. And you won’t even know it until you have eaten it.

These mushrooms have Gyromitrin and MMH. These substances are produced when the mushroom is partially heated. MMH is also known to be used as a propellant for rockets. And rocket propellants are not a good thing to ingest.

Poisonous Mushroom Appearance

False Morel

Despite being similar, the difference between the False Morel and True Morel is easy to point out. False Morels look almost like a human brain. While a True Morel doesn’t look anything like that. Another way to figure out which is by cutting them in halves. True Morels have hollow insides but False Morels don’t.

Poisonous Mushroom Symptoms

  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting 
  • Nausea 
  • Abdominal pain
  • Liver damage
  • Death

False morels symptoms usually appear from 7 to 10 hours of consumption. They are most poisonous when eaten raw and slightly heated. Plus, even if you were treated, the toxins remain in your body. This will eventually result in long-term health problems.

Wrap Up

So next time you go mushroom hunting, be sure to bring images of these common poisonous mushrooms. Knowing the difference between the edible and the poisonous ones can save a life. If you came across a mushroom you are uncertain of, it’s better to leave it. If you want a safer alternative, why not grow your own with a mushroom growing kit.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.