Mushrooms are enjoyed by many people all over the world, and are a divisive food that diners either love or despise. Those who enjoy eating fungi, on the other hand, must be cautious about which mushrooms they consume, as approximately 30 wild species are known to be consistently fatal due to high levels of toxicity, and at least 40 others have been proven to cause severe allergic reactions and, on rare occasions, death.
These are the five most poisonous mushroom species on the planet, and they should be avoided at all costs.
With its bright red cap adorned with white spots, this mushroom may look familiar because it resembles the iconic toadstool found in most fairytales and children’s stories. The muscimol and ibotenic acid in fly agaric are toxic to humans because they act on the central nervous system, causing loss of coordination, agitation followed by sleep, intense nausea, and occasionally hallucinations. The mushroom’s toxicity manifests itself about an hour after ingestion.
Despite a slew of symptoms, the fly agaric is rarely fatal to humans, but it poses a high risk due to sporadic intoxication-induced behavior. The same toadstools, however, are fatal when consumed by household pets such as cats or dogs who find them in the wild.
This gilled mushroom’s name speaks for itself. The deadly dapperling is found throughout Europe and Asia, as well as coniferous forests in North America, and is frequently misidentified as edible due to its amatoxin content, which is responsible for 80% to 90% of mycetism deaths. Inadvertently consuming the mushroom causes severe liver toxicity, which can be fatal if not treated promptly. Amatoxins have a 50% fatality rate if untreated, but a 10% fatality rate if treated, depending on the amount consumed.
The initial symptoms of amatoxin poisoning are mostly gastro-intestinal, but death may take some time because of liver failure.
This rare mushroom’s red fruiting bodies contain trichothecene mycotoxins, which can cause multiple organ failure. Podostroma cornu-damae is an Asian native that has caused numerous deaths in Japan and Korea. Stomach pain, peeling skin, hair loss, low blood pressure, liver necrosis, and kidney failure are all symptoms. Poisoning, if left untreated, can be fatal in a matter of days.
Because it resembles the edible Ganoderma lucidum variety, Podostroma cornu-damae is frequently consumed in error.
The destroying angel mushroom is the most common toxic mushroom in the world, with high levels of amatoxins that cause fatal mycetism. Within two or three hours of consumption, the fungus begins destroying liver and kidney tissue, and sufferers experience violent cramping and diarrhoea, delirium, convulsions, and vomiting before succumbing to kidney and liver failure.
Because they resemble edible species, these all-white, oval-shaped mushrooms are commonly referred to as the fool’s mushrooms.
The autumn skullcap, which is about an inch and a half wide and yellow-brown to brown, grows on decaying coniferous trees. It is occasionally confused with edible species such as honey fungus, sheathed woodtuft, and velvet foot. These mushrooms can be found all over the world, including in far-flung places like the Arctic and far-flung places like Australia.
The skullcap, like many toxic mushroom species, contains amatoxin, which can cause death within seven days due to liver failure after diarrhoea, vomiting, and hypothermia.
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