Be Careful of Death Cap Mushrooms

Every year, there are fatalities in Australia due to the death cap mushroom, scientifically known as Amanita Phalloides. 
March 29, 2013

This mushroom is found throughout Australia, but it is very common in the city and can pose a serious threat when consumed. Many people confuse it with a field mushroom, which is safe to consume. However, the death cap is extremely poisonous and caused two deaths in 2012.

Where They Grow

The death cap mushroom can grow on the roots of almost any tree. However, they are most commonly found on oak trees. Because of this, the mushrooms grow in even busy city areas and have been found in the business district of Melbourne.

They include a wide, yellow-brown cap when mature and have a more rounded, brown cap during their younger phases. The mushrooms are native to Australia, so they are seen in abundance.

Many people mistake them for either field mushrooms or the Southeast Asia wild mushrooms, which are safe to eat. However, all consumers should understand that the edible types of the fungi are not native to Australia. Anyone who finds the mushrooms growing on tree roots should not pick them or eat them.

They Can't Be Made Safe

Some misguided wisdom may indicate that peeling or even cooking the death cap mushrooms will make them safe to eat. However, this is not true. No matter what you do to them, they are never safe to eat and can be fatal. Mushroom poisoning is especially fatal to children, the elderly, or those who are already ill. No matter what, do not pick and consume a mushroom of any type unless you know for certain that it is safe to eat.

What to Do

If you think that you may have been poisoned by a mushroom, there are two things you can do. You need to go to a physician as soon as possible. Additionally, you can contact the Victorian Poisons Information Centre at 131126 to find out if you have consumed a death cap mushroom and to get advice on what to do.