Mind the Death Caps

By 30 April, 2009 15

The National Capital Authority has been moved to warn of the horrible menace of Death Cap mushrooms which have made themselves at home in these parts:

    ‘While the death cap is a large mushroom, with a cap ranging from light olive green to greenish yellow, the immature button can be difficult to distinguish from an edible mushroom.’

    The death cap is one of the world’s deadliest fungi. All parts of this mushroom are poisonous, and eating just one mushroom can be fatal.

    The death cap mushroom is commonly found near established oak tree plantings of which there are many in central Canberra and the older inner suburbs.

    Known locations of the death cap mushroom include Acton, Ainslie, Commonwealth Park, Deakin, Dickson, O’Connor, Parkes, Red Hill, Reid, and Yarralumla.

If you fear you, or one you hold dear, has eaten one then call 13 11 26 for advice.

(Image courtesy of the Botanic Garden’s excellent information page on the deathcap.)

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15 Responses to Mind the Death Caps
#1
Skidbladnir2:57 pm, 30 Apr 09

Other page with a comparison: “Do not eat the Deathcap”

More famous people than you who have been killed by deathcaps include: Roman Emperor Claudius, Charles VI (Holy Roman Emperor), and (possibly) Pope Clement VII.

*gets a bit tired of people asking the same questions*

#2
Jivrashia3:07 pm, 30 Apr 09

The only people I can think of who would consume any mushroom from the wild are those that are eager for a trip… to the hospital.

#3
shiny flu3:41 pm, 30 Apr 09

Well, the other types that can easily be found in Canberra look much different… my high school English teacher taught us/me that.

#4
Emlyn Ward4:11 pm, 30 Apr 09

“The only people I can think of who would consume any mushroom from the wild are those that are eager for a trip… to the hospital.”
– Indeed – if it’s not got oodles of plastic packaging wrapped around it, it’s not real food, is it?

When I was a kid, after rainy days we used to pick bags of mushrooms in the vacant land between Red Hill and Hindmarsh Drive.

You’d really have to be a moron to mistake a Deathcap for an edible mushroom.

#5
p14:18 pm, 30 Apr 09

Well, the other types that can easily be found in Canberra look much different…

Maybe you should post a picture for comparison purposes, to avoid any mistakes? :)

#6
Emlyn Ward4:24 pm, 30 Apr 09

How about these ones:
http://www.erowid.org/plants/show_image.php?i=mushrooms/images/archive/panaeolus_cyanescens2.jpg

These ones won’t kill you, but you really shouldn’t eat them more than once or twice per year, as the strychnine they contain will build up in your body and takes a while to be eliminated.

#7
Jivrashia4:38 pm, 30 Apr 09

Original article stated:

Jivrashia said :

the immature button can be difficult to distinguish from an edible mushroom

Emlyn Ward wrote:

Emlyn Ward said :

You’d really have to be a moron to mistake a Deathcap for an edible mushroom.

NCA is making an announcement for all Canberra morons, except you of course, who might mistake the immature buttons for an edible one.

#8
hetzjagd18:01 pm, 30 Apr 09

Emlyn Ward said :

How about these ones:
These ones won’t kill you, but you really shouldn’t eat them more than once or twice per year, as the strychnine they contain will build up in your body and takes a while to be eliminated.

The above information is incorrect. There is no strychnine in mushrooms (or lsd for that matter).

#9
realityskin8:53 pm, 30 Apr 09

mmmm Psilocybin

#10
bd8410:08 pm, 30 Apr 09

Anyone stupid enough to go pick a mushroom growing under a tree deserves what they get IMO.

#11
Thumper10:11 pm, 30 Apr 09

Oh yeah, death caps.

I wonder why they called them that?

#12
ant10:53 pm, 30 Apr 09

Mushrooming is quite a hobby among some people, who do know their stuff. A friend’s Finnish mother used to make teh most glorious pancakes, stuffed with those orange fungi that grow in pine forests. I can still taste that (drooling now).

I remember reading that deathcaps can look like proper mushrooms. I have some toadstool things on my lawn right now, actually, with white gills, and wondered if they were evil or not. No oaks for several hundred metres either.

#13
Thumper8:16 am, 01 May 09

I knew a guy who was attacked by a number of death caps late one night.

He escaped, barely, with his life. Others are not so lucky.

Let this be a lesson to you all…

#14
NoAddedMSG10:30 am, 01 May 09

I went to this totally hilarious talk once by an older German academic (chemistry). Wild mushroom gathering was apparently a major activity in the area where he lived in Germany. He had some theories about some of the chemicals found in mushrooms, and how the mushrooms made them. So to test it, he produced radiolabelled (ie slightly radioactive) compounds and injected them into mushrooms to see if the mushrooms then converted the chemicals into something else. The hilarity came in when he revealed that the mushrooms he was injecting were just out in the forest – he just wandered out, injected and came back the next day to get the mushrooms…. woe betide anyone in the meantime who went into the area looking for a mushroom dinner

Chemistry was a lot more fun before OH&S. But I suspect more people may have died.

#15
ant8:56 pm, 01 May 09

I used to eat mushrooms from the paddock, until I was chopping them up once and found… ugh… worms in them. Never again.

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