Types of poisonous fungus

Written by james cooper
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Types of poisonous fungus
Amanita muscaria. (toadstool image by Marius Lazin from Fotolia.com)

A small number of fungi are poisonous, and some of these look just like edible mushrooms. This is a good reason never to eat any kind of mushroom you find in the wild. If you eat a poisonous mushroom, you will likely have some gastrointestinal upset and irritation such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. You may also experience nervous system complications such as hallucinations, delirium, convulsions, paralysis and blindness. And, in some cases, ingestion of poisonous fungi results in death. If you believe you've eaten a poisonous mushroom, even a very small amount, seek immediate medical attention.

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Amanita Fungi

The Amanita fungus looks much like an edible mushroom called the Agaricus mushroom. It has a light brown cap. Because it is misidentified as an edible mushroom, it accounts for greater than 90 per cent of all deaths from poisoning in Europe. It is known as the "Death Cap"; the poisons in this fungus attack and destroy the liver, and ingesting just one mushroom is enough to kill an adult.

Amanita Virosa

This fungus is known as the "Destroying Angel," as it is white and delicate looking, but deadly. It is also often misidentified as an edible Agaricus mushroom, and is typically found in high altitudes.

Amanita Pantherina

Known as the "Panther Cap," this fungus contains the same poisons as the Amanita muscaria (known as the oldest hallucinogenic plant) but in higher concentrations. It is not as common as the other poisonous fungi, but is still misidentified by people gathering the edible Amanita rubescens. It has a broad cap with white spots.

Gyromitra Esculenta

Also known as the "False Morel," the Gyromitra esculenta, like the Amanita fungi, can be fatal. Even when cooked, ingesting this mushroom can be deadly; and if it doesn't kill you it may give you cancer.

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