Why this mushroom is off the menu (the name is a clue)

Ian Bushnell 3 April 2020 14
Death Cap mushroom

The Death Cap mushroom: don’t even touch it. Photo: Food Safety Information Council.

They may look like a free treat for mushroom lovers but the meal may be the last one you enjoy.

Foodies are being warned to resist the temptation to forage in the wild as the recent rain produces a fresh crop of the appropriately named Death Cap mushroom.

ACT Health has urged the community to report any sightings of mushrooms in public areas to Access Canberra.

Death Cap mushrooms, which can be lethal if ingested, often grow near established oak trees and can be found when there is wet weather. In Canberra that is usually in autumn, but there is no specific season.

Chief Health Officer Dr Kerryn Coleman is urging Canberrans and visitors not to pick or eat any wild mushrooms, and to buy all mushrooms from a reputable supplier.

Anyone who finds a mushroom in a public area should report it to Access Canberra immediately and keep children and animals away from it as it is dangerous to even touch the Death Cap with bare hands.

Four people have died in Canberra from eating the mushroom since 2002.

Death Cap mushrooms are easily confused with edible mushrooms and even experienced collectors can be mistaken.

Symptoms of Death Cap mushroom poisoning generally occur six to 24 hours or more after ingestion and include stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

They may subside for a day or two but this is only a false dawn, with the toxin already having caused serious liver damage.

Anyone who suspects that they might have eaten Death Cap mushrooms should seek urgent medical attention at a hospital emergency department, taking a whole mushroom sample for identification if possible. The sooner the treatment begins, the better the chances of survival.

To report mushroom sightings, contact Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

For more information about the Death Cap mushroom, including important health advice, visit ACT Health.


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14 Responses to Why this mushroom is off the menu (the name is a clue)
Stephen Saunders Stephen Saunders 6:48 am 07 Apr 20

Been picking proper mushrooms for 60 years, ain’t died yet. Found a delicious clump in open terrain by the lake, great isolation food.

Rachel SphealMum Rachel SphealMum 9:51 am 06 Apr 20

Winkie Wee started already!

    Winkie Wee Winkie Wee 5:22 pm 06 Apr 20

    About the right time of year. Story is - if the gills are white, do not eat!!!

Bec Malik Bec Malik 7:37 am 06 Apr 20

Carol McDevitt is this what you found?

    Carol McDevitt Carol McDevitt 9:39 am 06 Apr 20

    Bec Malik they didn’t have that greenish tinge - so probably not 🤗

Juanita Dawson Juanita Dawson 7:08 am 06 Apr 20

Lots around on our walks

Stuart Roesler Stuart Roesler 10:58 pm 05 Apr 20

If it ain't white with brown underneath, don't even think about it!

Donna Burns Donna Burns 9:16 pm 05 Apr 20

We have some coming up in our front lawn

    Louise Fitzgerald Louise Fitzgerald 9:30 pm 05 Apr 20

    Donna Burns don’t touch....report.

    Donna Burns Donna Burns 9:59 pm 05 Apr 20

    Louise Fitzgerald I wasn’t going to touch them, just noticed them today

Julia Schwarz Julia Schwarz 8:38 pm 05 Apr 20

We found some in our garden yesterday under an oak tree.

    Fenji Stradwick Fenji Stradwick 2:40 am 06 Apr 20

    Julia Schwarz their renown to be at the bottom of oak trees in Canberra.

    I heard that years ago when trees were imported, the death cap spores were there. (I can't remember the source of this)

M-Shaka Bubu-Klaus M-Shaka Bubu-Klaus 8:38 pm 05 Apr 20

Watch out for the dogs Gaz Rees

Stephen Owen Stephen Owen 8:30 pm 05 Apr 20

You had me at "free treat" mmmm

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