13 poisonous mushrooms you must know? (in the UK)

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gregorach

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Sep 15, 2005
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On last night's Reporting Scotland, they did a follow-up to the story discussed in this thread, talking about the increased interest in foraging for wild mushrooms and the attendant risks. One of the experts they had on said that "there are 13 poisonous mushrooms in the UK you must know before you go foraging" (or words to that affect). So, naturally, I started trying to figure out which ones he was meaning. I can't get anywhere near 13 (off the top of my head, I'm sure I could if I were to hit the books), so I was wondering if we could put our heads together and come up with a list...

The first 4 are (hopefully) obvious:

1. Death Cap (Amanita phalloides)
2. Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa)
3. Panther Cap (Amanita pantherina)
4. Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Next on my list would probably be a couple I hadn't heard of until the above linked thread:

5. Deadly Webcap (Cortinarius rubellus)
6. Fools Webcap (Cortinarius orellanus) (I can't find a good link for this one - anybody got one?)

Beyond that, I'm not sure what should be on a list of poisonous mushrooms "you must know". Any suggestions for the rest of the list?
 

Toadflax

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Not having my books with me at work to check, Roger's Mushrooms has a list of 19 deadly poisonous ones, though I haven't looked in detail at the list given there, though four of them are varieties of Panther Cap.


Geoff
 

gregorach

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Well, if we consider the 4 panther caps as 1, and exclude Ergot as it's not really a mushroom, that gives a list of 15... I'm guessing a couple aren't found in the UK. I shall go through that list and pull them into another post on this thread.
 

gregorach

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OK, further suggestions taken from the Roger's Mushrooms list of deadly mushrooms:

7. Satan's (or Devil's) Bolete (Boletus satanas) - I knew this was poisonous, but I didn't know it was deadly.
8. Ivory Funnel (Clitocybe blanchi)
9. Fool's Funnel (Clitocybe rivulosa)
10. Fool's Conecap (Conocybe filaris)
11. False Morel (Gyromitra esculenta)
12. Red-staining Fibrecap (Inocybe patouillardii)
13. Lepiota brunneo-incarnata
14. Entoloma euchroum

So, that's one more than I was looking for - but the lack of English names for the last two makes me suspect that they may not be found in the UK.
 

gregorach

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False Chanterelle
Bitter Bolete
Satan's Bolete
Sulpur Tuft
Yellow Stainer
Earth Balls
False Morrel
Some good suggestions there Greg, but I'm not sure I'd put them all on a list of "poisonous mushrooms you must know"... Although I can see some arguments in favour. Satan's Bolete and the False Morrel, sure. I didn't think the False Chanterelle, Bitter Bolete or Earth Ball were actually poisonous, and while the Yellow Stainer is poisonous to some, it's not exactly going to kill you is it?

The Sulphur Tuft appears to be more debatable - I'm finding some reports that it may be involved in a small number of fatalities...
 

Shewie

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My River Cottage book lists these as particularly nasty too...


Star Dapperling - Lepiota helveola
Deadly Dapperling - Lepiota bruneoincarnata
Fatal Dapperling - Lepiota subincarnata

Deadly Fibrecap - Inocybe erubescens
Funeral Bell - Galerina marginata
Brown Rim Roll - Paxillus involutus
 

gregorach

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Ah, the old "to cut or not to cut" question...

Personally, I only harvest mushrooms that I'm already certain of, so I cut them to keep everything clean. If you're collecting for ID purposes, then yes you should take the whole thing. I'm pretty conservative when it comes to shrooms, so I generally only take those you can be certain of without all that mucking about with spore prints - you don't need to whole fruitbody to ID a cep or a chanterelle.
 

dommyracer

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I'm not interested in eating poisonous or deadly mushrooms, so I'm not bothered about being able to identify them.

I concentrate on positive identification of the good eaters....
 

gregorach

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Yeah, that's my main approach too - but it's always good to know the ones you really have to avoid.
 

xylaria

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This thread might be some use. I spent about a week researching it. There is that many popular misconceptions on what is deadly poisonious and what isn't.

I am of the opinion that you must be able to identfy any mushroom down to the family group to be able forage safely. It is not hard to learn but it is quite a bit of work. I don't think the cultural approach of only learning the eaters is safe, as all that is needed is a slight change in weather for species that are unfamilier to start appearing. This is what leads to mistakes.
 

gregorach

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Ah, I was wondering when you'd grace us with your expertise! ;) Unfortunately, your link is borked.

When I say I tend to concentrate on known good eaters, I'm talking about a fairly small range of quite distinctive fungi - the best of the boletes, chanterelles, that sort of thing. If it's not 100% definitely a good 'un, I stay away. No messing around sniffing russulas for me! If there's even a hint of a question about ID, I'm not eating it.
 

xylaria

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REPOSTED FROM ORIGNAL THREAD
Beginners guide to fungi

There are several thousand macro fungi in Britain so where do you start if you wish to learn about picking them, easy you learn the ones that kill you. I have tried to keep the list to really dangerous ones, that have a likelihood of killing if consumed. I have tried to be a thorough as I can.

In humble opinion the best way to learn about fungi is to get out and pick them, feel them, look at the gills and spore print them. No fungi can poison you by touching it. Picking a singular mushroom to study it is unlikely to damage the organism the produced the fruit body. It is a very diverse subject that can take years to master, and you can’t learn it in one day. But like every other aspect of wild food the more you interact with the subject the more you will know.

Non-gilled fungi
Turban fungi, false morel Gyromitra esculenta
Gyromitra infula
Gyromitra gigas
Gyromitra brunnea,
Looks more like brain on stick than a morel; it contains hydrazine which produces incurable kidney failure if consumed undercooked. It can be eaten when boiled for ten minutes but the vapours have produced kidney failure in chefs who have inhaled the steam coming off the pot.

Cudonia circinans Redleg jelly baby, it grows in scotland, it is know as deadly poisonous on the continent. It has the same chemicals as turban fungus. There are other fungi that also contain hydrazine but i can find no reference of them causing poisoning, and I have personally consumed some of these well cooked in moderation without ill effect.


Gilled fungi

Cyclopeptides
These are responsible for the vast majority of deaths due to fungi poisoning. Amanitas, Lepiotas and Galerinas produce liver failure after a period of wellness. Cortinarius mushrooms again have a latent phase but the symptoms of poisoning are different as the final illness has nervous system problems and kidney failure. There is no antidote for this type of poisoning, once effected there is a signifcant chance of organ failure and death.

Amanita
The section of the amanita family the has the bad guys in it grow from a bag like structure called a volva and have ring on the stem. The edible amanitas either don't have a ring as in grisettes or no volva as in blushers, but still great care needs to exercised when picking amanitas for the pot.
Amanita virosa Destroying Angel
Amanita verna
Amanita phalloides var. alba
Amanita phalloides Death capDeath Cap
Amanita bisporigera
Amanita tenuifolia
Amanita ocreata Death cap (occidental)


Lepiota
This family contain the very delicious parasol mushroom, but also contains deadly ones, that are no more that 6cm across rather than a parasol that is at least 12cm.
Lepiota cristata
Lepiota clypeolaria
Lepiota brunneoincarnata
Lepióta helvéola
Lepiota josserandi

Galerina

Galerinas are little brown mushrooms with brown spores; the two biggest members of the group are also the ones that are the most poisonous. They are as deadly as death caps. Some of the little ones might be as well but nobody thinks to eats them.
Galerina marginata
Galerina autumnalis
Galerina venenata
Galerina unicolor
Galerína stylífera

Conocybe filaris
Again the Conocybe filaris is a little brown mushroom. The deaths it produces are nearly entirely restricted to young people looking for a high, and mis identifying it.

Cortinarius Webcaps
Like the amanitas, the Cortinarius group have distinct features such as a cobweb like veil around the bottom of cap, that adheres to the slimy glutinous layer on the top. This veil will collapse on to the stem when it ages leaving either ring or tatty brown lines down the stem. The spore print is brown.
Cortinarius rainierensis.
Cortinarius speciosissimus
CortinariusCallisteus
Cortinarius orellanus
Cortinarius rubellus
Cortinarius splendens
Cortinarius splendens var. meinhardii

Muscarine
Muscarine is a nerve poison, that is antidote-able with a atropine injection. Symptoms happen within two hours, and treatment needs to be reasonably prompt.

Clitocybes
Clitocybes are funnel shaped mushrooms with white spore print, there are several very good edible fungi such as honey fungus and cloud caps. But even these can produce problems to some. The small white ones are avoided and the rest is eaten in moderation after careful identifying.
Clitocybe dealbata
Clitocybe cerussata
Clitocybe Phyllophila
Clitocybe rivulosa
Clitocybe candicans
Clitocybe truncicola

Inocybes
Inocybes are typically thatched roof shaped with radial lines and a brown spore print
Inocybe geophylla
Inocybe erubescens ( patouillardii) Red staining inocybe
Inocybe bongardii
Inocybe godeyi
Inocybe fastigata
Inocybe maculata

Mycena pura

Amanita muscaria and amanita pantherina contain insufficient levels of muscarine to cause death with accidental use. Deathe have occured from the dilberate consumption of panter caps followed by atropine been misperscribed by doctors.

Gastero-irratants

There are quite a few fungi that cause significant gastric problems but they don’t normally kill. Entoloma lívidum has been known to kill. The spore print is pink there is couple of entolomas that can make you feel very ill so generally they are avoided.

Allergic problems
Paxillus involutus (Brown Roll-rim)
An odd group that though has in past been eaten in large quantities it has the nickname of the mycologist killer. It supposedly tastes fantastic but can cause a fatal allergic reaction. It can be eaten without ill effect for years until the reaction occurs. The reaction causes heamolytic anaemia and is fatal.

Tricholoma equestre poisoning - (Man-on-Horseback, chevalier)
Tricholoma equestre has recently been found to be toxic when eaten repeatedly in quantity. Eating more than ½ kg of any wild food in one sitting, radically increases the chance of toxic effects, but we all have the capacity to over consume.

OK IT IS A BIT MORE THAN 13 FUNGI, BUT THAT SHOULD ABOUT COVER ANTHING MUSHROOMY THAT CAN KILL YOU. OH AND DON'T TIE YOUR HAMMOCK TO TREE WITH ARTIST BRAKET FUNGI ON IT EITHER BECAUSE IT HOLLOWS OUT THE TREE.
 

gregorach

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Very comprehensive xylaria, thank you! :)

I had no idea that there were fungi that contained rocket fuel...