Toxic mushrooms

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Toxic mushrooms

Nothing can taste better than freshly picked and cooked mushrooms, but therein lies the problem – because the shape, colour and overall look of a mushroom can change drastically during its fruiting lifecycle, an edible mushroom can often be quite difficult to differentiate from an inedible or even toxic mushroom. If you are at all concerned about someone who is taken ill and has been eating mushrooms, call a doctor or take them to hospital immediately. 

There is really only one solution to ensuring that your collection is safe to eat and that is to ask an expert to check it plus follow our mushrooming guidelines.

Following is a list of those toxic mushrooms you are most likely to come across in order of danger, with the most dangerous first.

Deathcap Amanita phalloides

Deathcap Amanita phalloides © Wildfood UK

DEADLY POISONOUS 90% MORTALITY. Common in deciduous woodland especially near oak trees, from late Summer to Autumn. Symptoms occur between 8 hours and 2 days after eating. Go to a hospital immediately if any symptoms occur because, even though they may then subside this is only a temporary respite.

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Destroying angel Amanita virosa

Destroying angel Amanita virosa © Ben DeRoy

DEADLY POISONOUS. Occasionally found in mixed woodland from late Summer to Autumn.

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Panthercap Amanita pantherina

Panthercap Amanita pantherina cc farmer © Prst

CAN BE DEADLY POISONOUS. Occasional to frequent in coniferous or deciduous woodland, especially near beech trees from Summer to Autumn.

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Fibrecaps Inocybes

Fibrecaps Inocybes © Luridiformis

CAN BE DEADLY POISONOUS. Fibrecaps contain toxins and are dangerous to eat and extremely likely to cause illness, the Red-staining or Deadly fibrecap Inocybes eurobescens is known to have caused death. Fibrecaps grow in most woodland but they generally prefer beech woods on chalky soil. Found Spring to late Autumn.

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Webcaps Cortinarius

Webcaps Cortinarius rubellus © Eric Steinert

CAN BE DEADLY POISONOUS. Most Webcaps contain toxins and are extremely likely to cause illness. The Deadly webcap Cortinarius rubellus above (which can easily be mistaken for a Chanterelle) and the Fool’s webcap Cortinarius orellanus are known to cause death. Eaters can experience a delayed reaction of up to 10 days! Found in most types of woodland in Autumn.

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False morels Gyromitra esculenta

False morel Gyromitra esculenta © Lebrac

CAN BE DEADLY POISONOUS. Eaten in quantity, even over a sustained period of time or if the mushroom is not properly prepared, this mushroom will cause illness and can be deadly. Found in Spring growing on sandy soil alongside conifers, particularly pine trees.

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Livid pinkgill Entoloma sinuatum

Livid pinkgill Entoloma sinuatum © Archenzo

CAN BE DEADLY POISONOUS. The Livid pinkgill likes the rich soil found in deciduous open woodland and field edges. Found from late Summer to late Autumn.

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Brown rollrim Paxillus involutus

Brown rollrim Paxillus involutus © Karelj 

CAN BE DEADLY POISONOUS. Found in broad-leaved deciduous woodland, especially alongside birch trees on heath land. Found late Summer to late Autumn.

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References: Mushrooms, Roger Phillips, MacMillan; Wildfood UK; Mushroom Observer.