Poi­son mush­room warn­ing

Wangaratta Chronicle - - News -

AU­TUMN con­di­tions have cre­ated ideal grow­ing con­di­tions for poi­sonous mushrooms, Vic­to­ria’s chief health of­fi­cer, Pro­fes­sor Charles Guest, warned this week.

He urged peo­ple to avoid gath­er­ing wild mushrooms in ru­ral Vic­to­ria and from their own gar­dens be­cause of the risk of col­lect­ing poi­sonous va­ri­eties which may ap­pear very sim­i­lar to ed­i­ble va­ri­eties.

The warn­ing co­in­cides with the ar­rival of the mush­room­ing sea­son, spawned when rain en­cour­ages growth of the fungi in the still warm earth.

Prof Guest iden­ti­fied the dan­gers of two of the state’s most dan­ger­ous va­ri­eties, the Death Cap fun­gus, amanita phal­loides, and the Yel­low Stain­ing mush­room, agar­i­cus xan­th­o­der­mus.

“While com­mer­cially-sold mushrooms are safe, poi­son­ings can oc­cur when peo­ple gath­er­ing wild mushrooms in­ad­ver­tently in­clude toxic species,” Prof Guest said.

“Any­one who be­comes ill af­ter eat­ing mushrooms should seek ur­gent med­i­cal ad­vice and, if pos­si­ble, take sam­ples of the whole mush­room for iden­ti­fi­ca­tion.

“The most dan­ger­ous va­ri­ety is the Death Cap, usu­ally found near de­cid­u­ous trees, es­pe­cially around oaks.

“The Death Cap is ex­tremely toxic and re­spon­si­ble for 90 per cent of all mush­room poi­son­ing deaths; death can fol­low within 48 hours,” Prof Guest said.

The Death Cap is a large mush­room, with a cap rang­ing from light olive green to green­ish yel­low in colour.

The gills are white, and the base of the stem is sur­rounded by a cup-shaped sac.

Prof Guest said the com­monly found yel­low stain­ing mush­room turns yel­low when the cap or stem is bruised by a thumb­nail.

“These are often gath­ered and mixed with field mushrooms, and can cause nau­sea, ab­dom­i­nal pain and di­ar­rhoea in some peo­ple.”

More in­for­ma­tion about poi­sonous va­ri­eties can be found on the Bet­ter Health Chan­nel web­site and a Chief Health Of­fi­cer’s ad­vi­sory is at:

http://www.health.vic.gov.au/ chiefhealthof­fi­cer/index.htm.

DEADLY: Peo­ple are be­ing warned not to col­lect and eat Death Cap mushrooms.

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