UK death cap fatality

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Toddy

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Jan 21, 2005
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No, it's simple, you said it yourself, it was years before 'you' found one :rolleyes: and it's not as though you've never been mistaken. We all do it, thankfully none of us have ever had more than a slightly queasy/wind filled tummy from it, but a little circumspect courtesy over this fatality would not have gone amiss.

Most people are first shown what is "edible" or useful, not what is poisonous; simply because those are the ones they're interested in, and have actually had them pointed out to them.
Even then most never look beyond a few species; I know I don't, and I've been doing it for years. It's not our jobs, simply an interest.

If you're not prepared to be helpful in making sure that others are informed, don't make the situation any worse. I have removed the lady's name from your first post; I'd hate for her family to read that OP.

Toddy
 

WULF

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Mar 19, 2012
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I would class myself has more 'a member of the public' rather than a 'bushcrafter',even though i hike/walk and visit this bushcraft forum etc...,to be totally honest ive never heard of these fatal mushrooms so i can accept someone else making a mistake,,a fatal one at that!

Now im knowledgeable of these but not all members of the public will be.
 

xylaria

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
a few years ago my daughter who is certainly no idiot found grisettes growing in clearing, she exclaimed "mum i have a load of death caps" . I had to pick one and look at quite closely to id it correctly. I told her it was a grisette and pointed out the absence of a bag from which most amanitas grow. She looked a bit worried when i said it was edible, but less so when i told her not worry it tastes rubbish and we arent going to eat it. Some eaters do look like deathcaps. It never pays to be arrogant, it shows a lack of experiance. Poisonous mushrooms can grow right next eaters, they can grow where they didn't before.
 
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stuart f

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Jan 19, 2004
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Yes,what ever happened humility, the OP smacks of elitism. I,m sorry Dan but you have gone down in my estimations, you clearly know your shrooms, but know little about decorum.
Its very sad news for her and her family, and i know if i were a member of her family i would take umbrage with your comments. Ok lets put the shoe on the other foot, if something happened to a member of your family, would you be happy if someone was to say they were an idiot?

Cheers stuart.
 
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Humpback

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Just typed a long response supporting the original poster only for it to disappear (I believe others suffer the same problem) which I won't type out again!

Foolish act or foolish person? Darwin award candidate I think so. Fungi eaten is nothing like an edible mushroom which should put a person on notice to identifiy it = ie look it up not cook it up.A
 
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Bushwhacker

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Jun 26, 2008
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There's a golden rule that anybody should've learnt as a toddler - Don't go putting things into your mouth if you don't know what they will do to you!

Let's say a relative or friend of mine died from something similar, I'd call them an idiot, it doesn't take away any sadness felt.
 
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swright81076

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Apr 7, 2012
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Castleford, West Yorkshire
I think it just shows the dangers of fungi to 99% of the population. It is an area that I'm far from comfortable with, and would only forage them if I was absolutely certain and then got a second opinion.

These people were foolish not stupid, I for one wouldn't dream of foraging in a foreign land without expert advice.

touched by his noodly appendage
 

Geoff Dann

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Sep 15, 2010
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I would class myself has more 'a member of the public' rather than a 'bushcrafter',even though i hike/walk and visit this bushcraft forum etc...,to be totally honest ive never heard of these fatal mushrooms so i can accept someone else making a mistake,,a fatal one at that!

Now im knowledgeable of these but not all members of the public will be.

OK, I stand corrected. I really did think that these mushrooms were so infamous that pretty much everybody had heard of them. Certainly I didn't expect somebody with several hundred posts on a board like this not to know them. That is not intended to be offensive in any way - I am just genuinely surprised. If there's one thing that even the mushroom-ignorant British public do actually know about wild fungi, it is that some of them are deadly poisonous. It's only a short step to "Death Cap", but clearly it is a step that many people have not made.
 

Geoff Dann

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a few years ago my daughter who is certainly no idiot found grisettes growing in clearing, she exclaimed "mum i have a load of death caps" . I had to pick one and look at quite closely to id it correctly. I told her it was a grisette and pointed out the absence of a bag from which most amanitas grow. She looked a bit worried when i said it was edible, but less so when i told her not worry it tastes rubbish and we arent going to eat it. Some eaters do look like deathcaps. It never pays to be arrogant, it shows a lack of experiance. Poisonous mushrooms can grow right next eaters, they can grow where they didn't before.

It certainly doesn't pay to be arrogant when it comes to collecting wild fungi to eat. If I was arrogant in this way, I probably wouldn't be here. Over the years I, like most other people I suspect, and like your daughter, have been over-cautious rather than risking making a serious mistake. There's no harm in being suspicious of eating a grisette. I don't recommend them to mushrooming beginners. It was many years before I was confident to start experimenting with eating amanitas. And I put off trying Kuehneromyces mutabilis until a few weeks ago, because I've still never found Galerina marginata and my own rule has been not to eat the tasty lookalike until I've found the deadly one. I broke that rule because I've seen so many K. mutabilis now that I'm very confident I would be able to tell the difference.

Famous last words maybe...

And for the record, K. mutabilis is a top quality edible. Right up there with the best! :)
 

Geoff Dann

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Sep 15, 2010
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Yes,what ever happened humility, the OP smacks of elitism. I,m sorry Dan but you have gone down in my estimations, you clearly know your shrooms, but know little about decorum.
Its very sad news for her and her family, and i know if i were a member of her family i would take umbrage with your comments. Ok lets put the shoe on the other foot, if something happened to a member of your family, would you be happy if someone was to say they were an idiot?

Cheers stuart.

I did already say that I'd probably feel different if I knew the people involved.

How about an opinion from somebody who has been there...

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/femail/a...holas-Evans-killed-family-wild-mushrooms.html

Nick is such a thoughtful man that I felt he must have some explanation for what happened.

‘Charlotte sees it as a message to change us in some way, but I don’t believe life is like that,’ he says.

‘I think it was a stupid accident, like reaching for a CD at the back of the car while you are driving and having a head-on crash. Absolutely stupid. But it has changed us profoundly and for the better. We don’t take anything for granted.’
 

WULF

Full Member
Mar 19, 2012
2,973
81
South Yorkshire
OK, I stand corrected. I really did think that these mushrooms were so infamous that pretty much everybody had heard of them. Certainly I didn't expect somebody with several hundred posts on a board like this not to know them. That is not intended to be offensive in any way - I am just genuinely surprised. If there's one thing that even the mushroom-ignorant British public do actually know about wild fungi, it is that some of them are deadly poisonous. It's only a short step to "Death Cap", but clearly it is a step that many people have not made.

No offense taken geoff,as i say i hike/walk etc and love the great outdoors but going into a wood to spend the night under a tarp in a sleeping bag i wouldn't have a clue what to do!!
This forum gives me all the knowledge/advice should i ever decide to sleep rough...today ive learn't about 'death caps'.;)
 

Geoff Dann

Native
Sep 15, 2010
1,246
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Sussex
www.geoffdann.co.uk
Just typed a long response supporting the original poster only for it to disappear (I believe others suffer the same problem) which I won't type out again!

Foolish act or foolish person? Darwin award candidate I think so. Fungi eaten is nothing like an edible mushroom which should put a person on notice to identifiy it = ie look it up not cook it up.A

Well...the problem is that death caps really do look rather like edible mushrooms, at least superficially. That is partly why they are so dangerous.
 

Samon

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 24, 2011
3,970
42
Britannia!
deathcap.png


To me, this doesn't look edible. I know of this particular mushroom and I am a little shocked someone would eat one, regardless of the circumstances. But I am an enthusiastic mushroom hunter.

I think too many people think Britain today is a hazard free country with only the odd rapist and murderer to be scared of. Little do they know that deadly poisonous plants and mushrooms grow all around us. I was shocked when I watched an episode of Bear Grylls and he was in arctic conditons in the northern parts of Scotland, I had no idea it was truely that wild and cold! Not many people know we have the highest ammount of tornados per land mass in the world either, but we do!
 

Geoff Dann

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Sep 15, 2010
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Most people are first shown what is "edible" or useful, not what is poisonous; simply because those are the ones they're interested in, and have actually had them pointed out to them.

I'm not sure I understand this. It was always obvious to me, without anybody ever specifically pointing it out, that if you're interested in what wild fungi are edible, then by default you need also be interested in what is poisonous, especially what is deadly. It's like yin and yang, or should be.

Even then most never look beyond a few species; I know I don't, and I've been doing it for years. It's not our jobs, simply an interest.

Well perhaps I'm weird. I always wanted to know what everything was, so long as I had sufficient time and believed I had some hope of actually figuring out what it was. It was a two-way process for me. Yes, I went out looking for penny buns, chanterelles and the other famous edible species, but it became pretty obvious pretty quickly that it wasn't going to be so easy to find them and that if I tried to identify what I did find, they may also turn out to be edible. In fact this process continues to this day, it's just the list of edibles-to-find is ever-more obscure, as are things I try to identify.

If you're not prepared to be helpful in making sure that others are informed, don't make the situation any worse.

To be fair, I'd like to think I've been pretty helpful since I started posting here in terms of helping to inform people about fungi. I'm not always the most empathic person, but I do try to be helpful if I can. :)
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,762
2,676
S. Lanarkshire
How about we do something good about this fatality ?

Xylaria did an excellent thread a while back on fungi recognition, but how about one dedicated to each individual deadly one found in the UK ?
Keep it factual and we can stickie it in the forum ? Clearly labelled in bright red.....poisonous, do not eat!

A real issue with identification is simply that the few photos in a book in no way compare to actually 'seeing' the fungus growing, in situ, but maybe we can have enough added to the thread, as well as the technical description, to make it much clearer.

I know I don't have any photos of the death cap, but I know I can access a couple of fungal foraying groups records and check where they are known to grow, and when.

I still think there is no better way to learn this stuff than by actually going out with someone who really knows their stuff though; courses are well worth the money if you can afford them, as it joining one of the mycological recording associations :)

cheers,
Toddy
 

Samon

Bushcrafter (boy, I've got a lot to say!)
Mar 24, 2011
3,970
42
Britannia!
How about we do something good about this fatality ?

Xylaria did an excellent thread a while back on fungi recognition, but how about one dedicated to each individual deadly one found in the UK ?
Keep it factual and we can stickie it in the forum ? Clearly labelled in bright red.....poisonous, do not eat!

add all the dangerous plants and berries too!
 

Toddy

Mod
Mod
Jan 21, 2005
36,762
2,676
S. Lanarkshire
Geoff to me fungus aren't just edibles, they're usefuls, and I think that holds true for most of us here.
From firelghting to first aid to dyestuffs. They aren't just for eating.

As for the yin/yang.....nah, most just want to know what they can use, it's simply one part of our interests, not the biggest bit for most. They aren't a necessity, iimmc.

You are helpful.............usually; that's why you got bounced on so hard over your OP.

Toddy
 

Geoff Dann

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Sep 15, 2010
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www.geoffdann.co.uk
To me, this doesn't look edible. I know of this particular mushroom and I am a little shocked someone would eat one, regardless of the circumstances. But I am an enthusiastic mushroom hunter.

It doesn't look edible to you because (a) you know what an amanita looks like, and you've trained yourself to be very careful when you see something that looks like one and (b) these pictures are designed to clearly show the anatomical features that distinguish an amanita. That volva looks pretty menacing to me too.

But a young horse mushroom, which can also be found in growing in deciduous forests, really does look like a small death cap, especially if the base of the stem of the death cap has been lost. They are easy enough to tell apart if you know what you are looking for, but I do remember one session with foraging novices where we found a couple of small horse mushrooms followed by one small death cap, and they were rather taken aback at how similar they were. I could see them looking at each other as if to say "Hmm..we're not so sure about this..."

I think too many people think Britain today is a hazard free country with only the odd rapist and murderer to be scared of. Little do they know that deadly poisonous plants and mushrooms grow all around us.

Maybe. I sort of think it is the other way around though, particularly with regard to fungi. I think most people are terrified of foraging for wild fungi. Lots of them even seem to think that fungi are "bad" and should be stomped.
 
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