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Old 05-15-2008, 01:04 PM
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Default Poisonous Mushrooms

Every mushroom hunter should be familiar with the three most dangerous groups of fungi. These are the amanitas, the false morels and a catch-all category known as little brown mushrooms (LBMS). Mushrooms in these groups cause virtually all the fatal mushroom poisonings in the United States, with amanitas alone accounting for 90 percent of mushroom-related deaths. The pictures and descriptions on the following pages will help you avoid them.

There also are hundreds of other mushrooms that will cause anything from a mild stomachache to severe physical distress-including vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and loss of coordination. Two common poisonous mushrooms of this type, the jack-o'lantern and the green-spored Lepiota, are described here. Although the symptoms of poisoning from these mushrooms may be alarming, they usually pass in 24 hours or less with no lasting effects. You should, however, notify your doctor immediately if you suspect mushroom poisoning of any kind.

There is no quick and easy test that will separate edible from poisonous mushrooms-including peeling the cap, testing with a silver spoon, checking for insect damage or any other folk method. To avoid mushroom poisoning, you should follow these five rules:
  • Identify each and every mushroom you collect, and only eat those whose identification you are sure of. When in doubt, throw it out.
  • Strictly avoid: any mushroom that looks like an amanita (parasol-shaped mushrooms with white gills); all little brown mushrooms; all false morels.
  • Some people are allergic to even the safest mushrooms. The first time you try a new wild mushroom, it is important that you eat only a small amount and wait 24 hours before eating more.
  • As with other foods, rotting mushrooms can make you ill. Eat only firm, fresh, undecayed mushrooms.
  • Most wild mushrooms should not be eaten raw or in large quantities, since they are difficult to digest.



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Amanitas (Amanita spp.)

Amanitas are the reason why there are no old, bold mushroom hunters. Several members of this group contain amanitin, one of the deadliest poisons found in nature. One cap of a Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa) can kill a man

An amanita starts as an egg-shaped button which can resemble a small puffball. This breaks open as the mushroom grows. Fully developed amanitas are gilled mushrooms with parasol-shaped caps that may be white, yellow, red or brown. They also have the following characteristics:
  • A saclike cup surrounding the base of the stem. This often is buried just beneath the soil surface and may not be obvious.
  • A ring on the stem
  • White gills.
  • A white spore print

Both the ring and the bulb may be destroyed by rain or other disturbance. For this reason, beginning mushroom hunters should avoid all parasol-shaped mushrooms with white gills.

Amanitas are usually found on the ground in woodlands in summer and fall, but be on the lookout for them whenever you hunt for mushrooms.



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False Morels (Helvella and Gyromitra spp.)

False morels are difficult to treat in an article on edible and poisonous mushrooms, because they so clearly fit both categories.

On one hand, many people have enjoyed eating false morels for years and may even consider them a favorite wild mushroom. On the other, false morels have definitely caused serious illnesses and deaths in the United States.

The problem seems to involve the amount of a toxic chemical, called monomethyl hydrazine (MMH), present in these mushrooms. MMH causes diarrhea, vomiting and severe headaches, and occasionally it can be fatal. However, because of different cooking techniques and different individual sensitivities to MMH, false morels poison some people but leave others unaffected. In addition, false morels in some areas of the country contain more MMH than in other areas. All this makes these mushrooms a very doubtful group as far as edibility is concerned.

False morels have wrinkled, irregular caps that are brainlike or saddle-shaped. They may be black, gray, white, brown or reddish. (The "big red morel," Gyromitra caroliniana, common in Missouri, is a large false morel with a reddish cap.) Other names include elephant ears, Arkansas morels and brain mushrooms. Size 2" to 8" tall.

False morels differ from true morels in two obvious ways:
  • The cap surface has lobes, folds, flaps or wrinkles, but it does not have pits and ridges like a true morel. You might say their caps bulge outward instead of being pitted inward.
  • The bottom edge of the cap of a false morel hangs free around the stem, like a skirt. On true morels, the bottom edge of the cap is attached to the stem.

False morels are found in spring, summer and fall, on the ground in woodlands.

Note: Because these mushrooms have definitely caused deaths, we cannot recommend that you eat them. If you nevertheless choose to do so, they should be thoroughly cooked in a well-ventilated room, since MMH is driven off by heat.



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Little Brown Mushrooms (LBMs)

Like the LGBs (little gray birds) of the birdwatchers, this is a catchall category. It includes all small to medium-sized, hard-to-identify brownish mushroom with spores of all colors-of which there are many hundreds.

Many LBMs are harmless, some are mildly poisonous or hallucinogenic, and a few are deadly. The innocent-looking little mushrooms of the genus Galerina are probably the most dangerous of the LBMs. They contain the same toxin as amanitas and have caused a number of deaths. Galerinas grow in clusters on wood and have brownish spores.

Because they are so difficult to identify, all LBMs should be avoided.

Little brown mushrooms are found in spring, summer and fall, in all habitats. Poisonous LBMS may grow on soil or wood and may appear in lawns, pastures or forests.



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Jack-O'-Lantern (Omphalotus olearius)

The bright-orange is well named. Not only is it pumpkin-colored and found in the fall- it also glows in the dark. Fresh specimens sometimes give off a faint greenish glow at night or in a darkened room.

These common mushrooms have caused many poisonings because they look, smell and even taste good. They cause mild to severe stomach upset but are not life-threatening to healthy adults.

Jack-O'-lanterns have a pleasant, fruity fragrance. They are sometimes mistaken for the edible chanterelle (see page 6), which is the same color and also has pleasant smell. Chanterelles, however, have flat-edged, interconnecting ridges or wrinkles instead of knifelike gills, and grow on the ground. Size 3" to 10" tall, cap 3" to 8" diameter.

These mushrooms are found in summer and fall, in large clusters at the base of trees, on stumps or on buried wood.

The jack-o'-lantern and green-spored lepiota are only two of a large number of mushrooms that can cause mild to severe (though not life-threatening) illness if eaten.



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Green-spored Lepiota (Chlorophyllum molybdites)

These large, common mushrooms often appear in fairy rings on suburban lawns, and are frequently eaten by the lawn's owner-to his or her regret. They cause violent gastrointestinal upset.

The green-spored lepiota is parasol-shaped and has a cream or tan, scaly cap, a large ring on the stem and cream-colored gills which turn dingy green with age. As its name suggests, it is the only mushroom with a greenish spore print. Size 4" to 12" tall, 2" to 12" in diameter.

This mushroom is found in summer and fall, on the ground in lawns, pastures and meadows.



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Because a few wild mushrooms are deadly and many more are mildly poisonous, mushroom hunting is not a hobby for the careless or uninformed. On the other hand, neither is it necessarily the death-defying feat that many people imagine. There are a number of good edible mushrooms that are easy to recognize and hard to confuse with anything dangerously poisonous.

Making a spore print

Individual spores are too small to be seen with the naked eye, but you can make a spore print that will show the color of the spores in mass. This color is an important identifying characteristic for many mushrooms, especially the gilled fungi.

To make a spore print, cut the stem off the mushroom and place the cap gill-side or pore-side down on a piece of white paper. To best see the spore color, use on sheet of black paper and one of white, taped together side-by-side. Cover with a bowl or jar. If the mushroom is at the right stage-not too young, too old or deteriorated-the spores will slowly collect on the paper. A spore print will be visible in one to 12 hours.
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Re: Poisonous Mushrooms
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Old 05-15-2008, 01:25 PM
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CONOCYBE FILARIS - POISONOUS



CAP : Yellow to orange rust, conical to campanulate striate
GILLS : Adnate, rusty orange, white fringed
STEM : Slender, brittle, with white yellow ring
HABITAT : Lawns and bark mulch
SEASON : September through December
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT. DEADLY POISONOUS.

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CONOCYBE TENERA - POISONOUS



CAP : Broad, cinnamon, conic, striate
GILLS : Free, cinnamon, narrow
STEM : Long, equal, cinnamon brown
HABITAT : Lawns, pastures, woods
SEASON : April through September
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT

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COPRINUS ATREMENTARIUS - POISONOUS



CAP : White to gray brown, plicate striate conic
GILLS : Free, white gray to black, inky in age
STEM : White with fibrous ring
HABITAT : Lawns and open ground
SEASON : June through October
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT

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GALERINA AUTUMNALIS - POISONOUS



CAP : Ochraceous brown, convex, margin striate
GILLS : Close, broad and rusty brown
STEM : Thick, rust with orange rings
HABITAT : Wooded areas, decayed matter, bark mulch
SEASON : September through December
DOSAGE : Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you eat this.

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GALERINA AUTUMNALIS - POISONOUS



CAP : Ochraceous brown, convex, margin striate
GILLS : Close, broad and rusty brown
STEM : Thick, rust with orange rings
HABITAT : Wooded areas, decayed matter, bark mulch
SEASON : September through December
DOSAGE : Under NO CIRCUMSTANCES should you eat this.

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GALERINA MARGINATA - POISONOUS



CAP : Ochraceous brown, convex, margin striate
GILLS : Rusty orange
STEM : Equal, thick, with veil.
HABITAT : Mixed conifers, decayed matter, bark mulch
SEASON : September through December
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT. DEADLY POISONOUS.

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GALERINA MARGINATA - POISONOUS



CAP : Ochraceous brown, convex, margin striate
GILLS : Rusty orange
STEM : Equal, thick, with veil.
HABITAT : Mixed conifers, decayed matter, bark mulch
SEASON : September through December
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT. DEADLY POISONOUS.

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GALERINA VENEATA - POISONOUS



CAP : Broadly convex, cinnamon brown, waxed margin
GILLS : Broad, brown rust to cinnamon
STEM : Thick, equal brown with fuzzy ring
HABITAT : Lawns and pastures
SEASON : September through December
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT. DEADLY POISONOUS.

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MYCENA HAEMATOPUS - POISONOUS



CAP : Red brown, conic to bell, margin striate
GILLS : White to gray red, staining rust
STEM : Long, equal, straight and hollow
HABITAT : Decayed matter
SEASON : April through September
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT.

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STROPHARIA AERUGINOSA - POISONOUS



CAP : Broad yellowish olive green, convex or bell-shaped
GILLS : Close, broad, gray, purple brown in age, edges white
STEM : Thick, greenish blue, veil sometimes present
HABITAT : Forests, pastures, grassy areas
SEASON : September through December
DOSAGE : DO NOT EAT.

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Re: Poisonous Mushrooms
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Old 04-15-2010, 08:08 AM
george.mikal
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thanks buddy for sharing use full information...
pics are really good
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