What is the issue?
Death Cap mushrooms
Death Cap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides) are extremely 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 typically 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 collects and consumes wild mushrooms of unknown species is putting themselves at risk of potential poisoning and serious illness. Consuming a Death Cap mushroom may result in death.
Dogs are more likely than cats to ingest mushrooms. Pets can develop a range of illness from eating wild mushrooms including a gastroenteritis type syndrome to severe live threatening disease and death.
Unless you are an expert do not pick and eat wild mushrooms in Victoria.
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.
Pet owners should take particular care whilst walking their pets in areas where mushrooms may grow and where possible remove any mushrooms from their yard before they have a chance to eat them.
If your pet has ingested a wild mushroom, you can call the free Animal Poisons Centre on 1300 869 738 for advice.
Better Health Channel - Mushroom poisoning
Health Translations - CHO Advisory in other languages
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.