What is the issue?
Death Cap mushrooms
Death Cap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides) are highly poisonous. Consuming just one mushroom can kill an adult. Symptoms of poisoning by Death Cap mushrooms can include violent stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea. Symptoms may subside after one or two days but this does not indicate recovery. Serious liver damage may well have occurred that may result in death.
These mushrooms grow under oak trees and are 40-160mm in diameter. The cap ranges in colour from pale yellow-green to olive brown and the ridges on the underside of the cap are white. The base of the stem has a membrane ‘cup’.
The Yellow-staining Mushroom (Agaricus xanthodermus) is the cause of most poisonings due to ingestion of wild fungi in Victoria. Consuming Yellow-staining mushrooms causes nausea, stomach cramps, diarrhoea and vomiting. The severity of symptoms varies with the amount eaten.
This mushroom looks very similar to regular purchased mushrooms or ‘cultivated mushrooms’ (Agaricus bisporus) and to edible wild mushrooms such as the field mushroom (Agaricus campestris). In urban areas the Yellow-staining Mushroom is unfortunately much more common than edible mushrooms. It can grow in large troops in lawns and gardens.
Who is at risk?
Anyone who has collected and consumed a wild mushroom of unknown species is putting themselves at risk of potential poisoning.
Consuming poisonous mushrooms puts you at risk of serious illness. Consuming a Death Cap mushroom may result in death.
In most cases, the sooner treatment can begin, the better the outcome. If it is suspected that you or your child have eaten a poisonous mushroom, do not wait for symptoms to occur before seeking medical attention. Contact the Victorian Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week, Australia wide). Keep and photograph a sample of the mushroom that was consumed, as the Victorian Poisons Information Centre may be able to obtain expert identification of the mushroom in some cases.
Better Health Channel
Victorian Poisons Information Centre: 13 11 26 (24 hours a day, 7 days a week)
For more information please contact the Environmental Public Health Policy and Risk Management unit on 1300 761 874.
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