POISONOUS AND HALLUCINOGENIC MUSHROOMS
by Michael W. Beug Email: beugm@evergreen.edu
The Evergreen State College, Olympia WA
Previous Slide Table of Contents


Slide 80.
I close with this photograph of a diseased Chanterelle to remind viewers that even the best edible mushroom can cause problems when it is not collected in prime condition or when it has been improperly stored or improperly canned. Botulism from poorly canned mushrooms does happen as does poisoning from mushrooms that have been frozen in the woods and then suffered bacterial attack.

There are several rules for safe eating. Always keep a fresh whole specimen in a bag in a refrigerator for identification later in case someone becomes ill. Do not eat mushrooms collected near roads or places like golf courses where they may have been contaminated by heavy metals or toxic sprays. Do not eat mixed collections of species. Be certain of your identifications and do not trust any general rules - like it must be good to eat because animals have nibbled on it or it didn't turn a silver spoon black. None of the general rules are reliable.

Some people are sensitive to specific mushrooms and suffer distress after eating species widely considered choice edibles. Always eat a small amount the first time you try any new species until you discover which ones do not agree with you. I cannot eat even the choicest Agaricus species and a friend immediately feels ill if he eats Chanterelles. Some people are so afraid of wild mushrooms that fear itself brings on panic symptoms.

In closing I would like to thank Kit Scates-Barnhart for her many years of advice and counsel. Kit provided a spectacular picture of Amanita muscaria as the background for the title slide and slides of Lepiota josserandia, Chlorophyllum molybdites, Cortinarius gentilis, Agaricus gentilis, Agaricus xanthodermus, Omphalotus olearius, Amanita ocreata, Boletus sensibilis, and Ramaria formosus. I thank Richard Tish for the slide of Boletus luridus. The slide of Cortinarius trivialis was obtained from the NAMA round-robin slide exchange from an unidentified contributor. I want to thank Marilyn Shaw for her editorial advice and for sharing her notes on mushroom poisonings from the past 10 years. Jan Lindgren also kindly read over the text and added observations from her years of assisting in poisoning cases.

Individuals desiring more information and detailed references should consult the book by Dr. Denis R. Benjamin, Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas, W. H. Freeman and Company ã 1995


Previous Slide Table of Contents