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Poisonous Mushrooms

Here is a list of poisonous mushrooms, of which the lethally poisonous mushrooms are listed first. Anyone gathering mushrooms to cook and eat needs to be able to identify at least the deadly poisonous mushrooms. Do not under any circumstances taste or eat of any of these mushrooms.

Click on the pictures to enlarge them.

Amanita bisporigera   (Eastern destroying angel)
Family
Amanitaceae
Location
North America, Mexico
Dimensions
Cap 3-10 cm diameter, stem 6-14 cm tall * 0.7-1.8 cm thick
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
Amanita bisporigera, commonly known as Eastern destroying angel amanita is a lethally poisonous mushroom found in mixed coniferous and deciduous forests of eastern North America south to Mexico, but are rare in western North America. The mushroom contains a complex group of poisonous substances called amatoxins and one mushroom often contains enough amatoxins to kill an adult human.

Cap egg-shaped to convex to somewhat flattened. Surface smooth and white, sometimes with a pale tan- or cream-coloured tint in the center. The surface is either dry or when the environment is moist, slightly sticky. The flesh is thin and white, and does not change colour when bruised. The margin of the cap is rolled inwards in young specimens. Gills white and crowded closely together. They are either free from attachment to the stipe or just barely reach it. Stem thick, solid and tapers slightly upward. The surface, in young specimens especially, is frequently fibrillose (covered with small slender fibers), or squamulose (covered with small scales). The bulb at the base of the stipe is spherical or nearly so. The delicate ring on the upper part of the stipe is a remnant of the partial veil that extends from the cap margin to the stalk and covers the gills during development. It is white, thin, membranous, and hangs like a skirt.

Similar species include Amanita virosa which is a bigger, less slender but equally deadly mushroom and Leucoagaricus leucothites. It can also be confused with edible Button mushrooms (Agaricus species). They have faint pink to brown gills, where Amanita bisporigera has white gills.

Amanita bisporigera on the MushroomExpert.Com Web site.

The first and third photo is by Huafang and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
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Amanita phalloides   (Death Cap Amanita)
Family
Amanitaceae
Location
North America, Europe
Dimensions
Cap 6-12 cm diameter, stem 7-12 cm tall * 1 - 1.5 cm thick
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
This is a lethally poisonous, medium to large, fleshy agaric with greenish olive cap, whitish stem, ring, no patches but distinctive volval sheath. As the volva, which may be hidden by leaf litter, is a distinctive and diagnostic feature. It is important to remove some debris to check for it. Anyone gathering mushrooms to cook and eat needs to be able to identify this poisonous amanita fungus.

Cap at first round to egg-shaped and then flat. Varies greatly in colour from grey-white to green and yellow-brown and has dark radial lines from the center. Sometimes with lots of veil remnants. Gills free, close, white, can turn yellow. Stem white with a scattering of greyish-olive scales and with a swollen, ragged, sac-like white volva (base). Ring white or coloured like the stem, broad, thin, persistent.

Similar species Some Volvariella species look similar to older speciemens of Amanita phalloides. They are distinguished by a pale pink spore deposit and lack of a stem ring.

Amanita phalloides on the First Nature Web site.
Amanita phalloides on the MushroomExpert.Com Web site.
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Amanita virosa   (Destroying angel)
Family
Amanitaceae
Location
North America, Europe
Dimensions
Cap 5-9 cm diameter, stem 13-20 cm tall * 1.5-2 cm diameter
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
Amanita virosa, also known as Destroying angel, is a lethally poisonous, medium-large to large, white fleshy mushroom with a shaggy stalk and volval bag. It grows solitary or scattered on soil in broad-leaf or mixed woods. The mushroom contains a complex group of poisonous substances called amatoxins.

Cap white to yellow in colour, at first round to egg-shaped, then flat but often retaining a flat umbo, usually with veil remnants at the margins. The flesh is white and firm. Gills white (can turn yellow), free, crowded. Stem long and thread-like and has tufts above the ring and arising from large bag-like vulva often buried deep in the soil. The large ring sits high on the stem and easily breaks and falls off. It is produced by the inner veil.

Similar species include Amanita bisporigera which is a smaller, more slender, two-spored, but equally deadly mushroom and Leucoagaricus leucothites. The mushroom can also be confused with edible Button mushrooms (Agaricus species). They have faint pink to brown gills, where Amanita virosa has white gills.

Amanita virosa on the www.first-nature.com web site.
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Cortinarius orellanus   (Fool's Webcap)
Family
Cortinariaceae
Location
North America, Europe
Dimensions
Cap 3-7 cm diameter, stem 3-8 cm tall * 0.5-1.3 cm diameter
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
Cortinarius orellanus, also know as Fool's Webcap, is a medium-sized agaric with a tawny brown, blunt umbonate cap. The gills are coloured as the stem. Grows solitary or in scattered trooping groups, with broad-leaf trees. The mushroom is lethally poisonous.

Cap bell-shaped, with a sharply inrolled margin at first, expanding to convex or flat, with a broad, low, rounded hump. Surface minutely fibrillose, tending to develop fine, depressed scales. Brownish orange to reddish-orange. Margin thin, often flaring in age. Stem cylindrical, becoming hollow. Surface fibrillose; moderate yellow to moderate orange with zones of reddish.

Similar species Many in Cortinarius and related genera.

Cortinarius orellanus on the www.first-nature.com web site.
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Cortinarius rubellus   (Deadly Webcap)
Family
Cortinariaceae
Location
Europe and parts of Asia
Dimensions
Cap 3-8 cm diameter, stem 5-11 cm tall * 0.8-1.5 cm diameter
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
Cortinarius rubellus, commonly known as the Deadly Webcap, is a lethally poisonous mushroom that smells of radishes and is reddish-orange with a pointed, umbonate cap covered with fibrils.

Cap conical to convex (partly flattening to umbonate with maturity). In colour, it is a tawny to date brown with paler margins and is covered in fine, fibrous scales. The gills are ochre- or caramel-coloured, changing to a deeper brown with age as the spores mature. They have an adnate connection to the stipe. The Stem has a bulbous base. It is the same colour or slightly paler than the cap and can have yellow fragments of the veil (cortina) attached to its lower half. The flesh is cream or pale yellow, but more tan below the pileipellis and in the stem base. It smells slightly of radishes and has no strong taste.

Similar species include Cortinarius limonius, which is also poisonous but has more vivid orange colouring. Cortinarius orellanus has a less conical cap and grows near deciduous trees.

Cortinarius rubellus on the www.first-nature.com web site.
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Galerina marginata   (Funeral Bell)
Family
Strophariaceae
Location
Europe, North America, Asia and Australia
Dimensions
Cap 2.5-6.5 cm diameter, stem 3-9 cm tall * 0.3-0.8 cm diameter
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
Galerina marginata, also known as Funeral Bell, is a small agaric with a yellowish tan, sticky cap, similarly coloured as the gills and a ring on the stem. It grows in clusters on stumps and logs of broad-leaf trees. As the name, Funeral Bell indicates the mushroom is poisonous. It contains the same toxins as the Death Cap so it is a good mushroom to get to know and then avoid.

Cap starts convex, sometimes broadly conical, and has edges (margins) that are curved in against the gills. It becomes later broadly convex and then flattened, sometimes developing a central elevation or umbo. Gills typically narrow and crowded, with a broadly adnate to nearly decurrent attachment to the stem and convex edges. They are a pallid brown when young, becoming tawny at maturity. Spore print snuff brown. Stem more or less equal or is slightly enlarged downward. Initially solid, it becomes hollow from the bottom up as it matures. The membranous ring is located on the upper half of the stem near the cap but may be sloughed off and missing in older specimens. Above the level of the ring, the stem surface has a very fine whitish powder and is paler than the cap; below the ring, it is brown down to the reddish-brown to bistre base.

Similar species Galerina marginata may be mistaken for a few edible mushroom species like Pholiota mutabilis, Armillaria mellea and Kuehneromyces mutabilis.

Galerina marginata on the First Nature web site.
Galerina marginata on the mykoweb.com web site.
Galerina marginata on the MushroomExpert.Com web site.

The third photo is by Huafang and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
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Gyromitra esculenta   (False Morel)
Family
Discinaceae
Location
North America, Europe
Dimensions
5-15 cm diameter, 5-12 cm tall, including stem
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
Gyromitra esculenta, also known as False Morel, has a fruiting body that consists of an irregular, brown, brain-like structure on a pale stem. It grows solitary or in small trooping groups near conifers, typically on acid, sandy soils.

Fruiting body irregularly shaped and reminds of a brain structure. Initially smooth, it becomes progressively more wrinkled as it grows and ages. The cap colour may be various shades of reddish-, chestnut-, purplish-, bay-, dark or sometimes golden-brown. Stem attached to the cap at several points. Gyromitra esculenta has a solid stipe whereas those of true morels (Morchella spp.) are hollow. The spore print is whitish.

Warning This mushroom is deadly poisonous. Toxins allegedly lost after thorough cooking but, if ingested, the effect is probably cumulative with no immediate symptoms.

Similar species include Gyromitra gigas, Gyromitra brunna, Gyromitra caroliniana and Gyromitra korfii which are often larger and more vivid orange-brown; common in parts of North America.

Gyromitra esculenta on the MushroomExpert.Com Web site.
Gyromitra esculenta on the www.first-nature.com web site.
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Rubroboletus satanas   (Satan's Bolete)
Family
Boletaceae
Location
North America, Europe
Dimensions
Cap 8-25 cm diameter, stem 6-9 cm tall * 5-10 cm diameter
Edibility
Lethally poisonous

Description
Rubroboletus satanas (formerly Boletus satanas), which is commonly known as Satan's Bolete is a lethally poisonous fleshy bolete that has a smooth, bun-shaped cap that is almost white. Boletus satanas is best identified by its orange to blood-red pores and prominent yellow to a blood-red net pattern. It also has a fat, yellow to red stem.

Cap compact, at first it is hemispheric with an inrolled margin, later flattening in the shape of a pad, and in older specimens, it is bent irregularly. The pileus at first greyish white, later more greenish ochre or leather colour. The surface of the cap is finely tomentose, later smooth, and often slightly sticky in wet weather. Pores are small, circular, and red, sometimes blood-red, but orange at the margin. The free to slightly adnate tubes are yellow then olive, blue were cut. Stem yellow background covered with a hexagonal close-meshed net that starts bright red and turns dark blood-red. Often very bulbous and usually wider than it is long. When young almost spherical.

Rubroboletus satanas (Boletus satanas) on the www.first-nature.com web site.

Photos by Holger Krisp and licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license.
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WARNING

If you plan to collect fungi to be eaten, misidentified mushrooms can make you sick or kill you. Never eat a mushroom that you are not 100% sure is edible. Use many resources, and be skeptical of your own conclusions. Please consider that many mushrooms take years of experience to identify reliably.

The site takes no responsibility for damage caused by ingesting poisonous mushrooms. If you continue, you agree to view this website under these terms.