Category: mycology

Giving credence to the common name “lacquered …

Giving credence to the common name “lacquered polypore”

whats the most beautiful but poisonous fungus/…

whats the most beautiful but poisonous fungus/plant in your opinion—or something common that looks edible but is deadly? what would happen if you ate it as a forbidden snack? not planning on eating anything poisonous, just genuinely curious

I can’t speak on your level of experience but I know inexperienced mushroom-lovers look at my blog so it would be wildly irresponsible of me to endorse a pretty mushroom as a “forbidden snack”.

Not only does that ignore the people (and pets) who have died from eating a deadly species…it’s also potentially dangerous? I don’t fully expect anyone to read this answer in it’s entirety but I would hate for someone skimming this to get the wrong idea. I also don’t want to downplay the need for experience in the field, honing identification skills, experience with mycologists, or a good field guide/resource for learning. I have an online resource tag here. So yeah, I’m not going to answer the first part of the question.

As far as what would happen if you did eat a poisonous mushroom, symptoms would range anywhere from a rash, headaches, gastrointestinal distress (nausea, vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea), excessive salivation, sweating, crying, racing heart (tachycardia), central nervous system effects (confusion, visual distortion, delusions and convulsions), entering a coma-like state, kidney, liver and red blood cell damage, and kidney/liver failure resulting in death. There is more symptom-related information here. 

You can even develop symptoms from undercooked edible mushrooms, or just consuming edible mushrooms with alcohol. You can get a type of rash called Shiitake dermatitis from eating undercooked or raw Shiitake (Lentinula edodes). The rash can start within 48 hrs of consumption and last 10 days; it will look like you’ve been flogged or scratched, and the rash will blister. It’s caused by a starch called lentinan that’s destroyed by heat so you only have to worry about it if you’re eating raw/undercooked Shiitake.

On the opposite end of the symptom spectrum, mushrooms containing Amatoxins have a fatality rate of 50% without quick medical treatment. They’re extra dangerous because the symptoms are delayed 6-24 hrs after ingestion; in this 6-24 hr period, the kidney and liver are damaged while the victim will feel no discomfort, so if you suspect a poisoning, seek help immediately because unchecked, it can lead to death by kidney or liver failure.

According to the 2015-2016 North American Mycological Association Toxicology Committee Report, in the 2016, Amanita phalloides, Amanita bisporigera and other relatives claimed 20 victims alone, with one death occurring and 3 liver transplants needed. In 2006, the North American Mycological Association released a 30 Year Toxicology Committee Report with some interesting information if you’d like more reading or more in-depth information on reported cases of mushroom poisonings in North America. If you care to search, there may be some interesting toxicology reports from other international mycology organizations.

I have no idea if this is the kind of answer you were looking for but here it is; I hope it’s enlightening to at least a few.

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What a spread!

What a spread!

microcosmicobservations: Gills of the viscid v…

microcosmicobservations:

Gills of the viscid violet cort (Cortinarius iodes). Note the webby partial veil.

7/15 at New River Gorge, WV

A lookalike to the reishi, Hydnellum aurantiac…

A lookalike to the reishi, Hydnellum aurantiacum. This mushroom is used in dye making and produces a gray to greenish-gray pigment depending on mordant.

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microcosmicobservations: Coltricia cinnamomea …

microcosmicobservations:

Coltricia cinnamomea

Lovely mushroom with a velvety cap!

7/15 at New River Gorge, WV

Incredible blue reishi

Incredible blue reishi