Poisonous Mushrooms

In this article on the top 10 deadliest mushrooms on the planet, we reveal just how dangerous these types of poisonous mushrooms can be. Mushrooms make an interesting and tasty addition to many dishes from around the world. However, proper identification of mushrooms is critical.  Those inexperienced in mushroom identification should never think of collecting and eating mushrooms without having extreme confidence that they have harvested edible mushrooms.  Poisonous mushrooms are often mistaken for edible mushrooms that they may resemble.

The Ten Deadliest Mushrooms on the Planet:

1.    Amanita Phalloides: This is the most deadly mushroom on the planet. It is commonly referred to as the death cap mushroom. The mushroom caps are a greenish color with a white stripe and gills. As many as 50 percent of all mushroom poisonings are attributed to the death cap mushroom. 30 grams is enough to kill because its toxicity is not reduced through cooking, drying or freezing. The mushroom attacks the liver and kidneys, causing damage that can be fatal.

Most Poisonous Mushrooms2.    False Morels: Beautiful but deadly is an apt description for this poisonous mushroom. While the mushroom really does appear delicious, they are potentially fatal when eaten raw. The toxin found in the mushroom is gyromitrin and affects the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. Poisoning from these mushrooms includes vomiting and diarrhea that occurs several hours after consumption. This is followed by lethargy, headache and dizziness; very severe cases lead to delirium, coma and death within five to seven days.

3.    Amanita Ocreata or Western North American Destroying Angel: The death angel mushroom as it is referred to, is typically found in the Pacific Northwest and California near oak trees. Consuming half a cap of this mushroom can lead to death. The poison mushroom is very toxic and contains amatoxins and phallatoxins. Organ damage and death are the hallmarks of this mushroom. There is no known antidote, but intravenous penicillin has been known to improve chances of survival.

4.    Amanita Simithiana: These poisonous mushrooms are found in the woodlands in North America. Often mistaken for the edible Tricholoma magnivelare mushrooms they are high in toxicity and cause poisoning. Soon after consumption the person experiences rapid renal failure leading to other complications.

5.    Amanita Verna or Fool’s Mushroom: Another beautiful but deadly mushroom found in Europe. It is highly toxic and poisonous, containing amatoxins, primarily alpha-amanitin. Consuming this mushroom leads to liver failure.

6.    Ivory Funnel Mushroom: It is referred to as the sweating mushroom because of its poisonous effect. The ivory funnel mushroom has fatal levels of muscarine, which causes sweating, excessive salivation and tear flow that is soon followed by abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhea, labored breathing and blurred vision.  The ivory funnel is definitely not a fungi you want to tangle with.

7.    Deadly Webcap Mushroom: Because its characteristics make it difficult to identify, it often leads to fatal poisonings through misidentification.  It's name is apt as it is truly one of the deadliest mushrooms in the world.

8.    Fool’s Webcap: Similar in appearance to the deadly webcap this mushroom contains the orellanin toxin. Symptoms may appear after two to three days or even three weeks. Headache, stomach cramps, nausea, vomiting, flu and other symptoms characterize the poisonous effects of the mushroom.

9.    Sulfur Tuft Mushroom: A very poisonous mushroom that causes vomiting, convulsions, diarrhea and possible death. Eating it can result in paralysis, kidney failure, impaired vision and myocardium.

10.    Entoloma Sinuatum: Often mistaken for the edible St Georges’ or miller mushrooms, it is said to be responsible for approximately 10 percent of all mushroom poisoning cases in Europe. It is not known to be life threatening, but causes serious gastrointestinal problems.

When people think about being poisoned in the wild, they often think snake trouble.  But mushrooms can be just as deadly and even more unexpected if you're not careful.

Reading about these deadly mushrooms should give you pause if you were ever tempted to go in search of your own wild mushrooms.  Unless you are experienced in mushroom identification and are certain the variety you have found is edible, you should never eat mushrooms you have found.  For practice in identifying poisonous and edible fungi, you should invest in several good field guides to mushroom identification like the Smithsonian Guide pictured above.  If you are interested in collecting your own mushrooms, it would be much better to purchase a mushroom kit from a reputable source and grow your own mushrooms.  Stay safe and steer clear of the deadliest mushrooms on the planet.