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  • Writer's picturebjmagnani

Toxic, Not Magic, Mushrooms

Updated: Nov 23, 2021

Fall in New England brings us crops of Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria). A medium to large mushroom with a cap that varies from red to orange to yellow. Notice the classic annulus or partial veil under the cap. Young button stages can be misidentified as puffballs. BEWARE: this Amanita is poisonous.

Phallus ravenelii or Eastern Stinkhorn, a non-edible fungus. The odor has been described as “repulsive to nauseating.” Best to avoid altogether.

Leave the collecting of wild mushrooms to the experts. Poisoning with wild mushrooms is not uncommon and ranges from gastrointestinal (GI) upset to death. GI symptoms usually occur within the first six hours of mushroom ingestion. Amatoxin is responsible for 95% of the mushroom-related fatalities in the U.S. Amanita phalloides is known as the death cap and Amanita virosa, the destroying angel. Well deserved names.


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