Learning to Recognize Poisonous Mushrooms
After our wild mushroom incident recently, I checked some mushroom books out at the library and tried to read up on what the most poisonous mushrooms look like, and also what the mushrooms around our house are. I am NOT looking to eat any mushrooms. My interest stems from my mama-bear instinct that wants to know when and where I need to be extra vigiliant with supervising my toddler who apparently likes to put potential tasty morsels in her mouth outside.
Neither task has worked out. There aren’t many mushrooms around our house right now, and so I can’t identify what is not there right now. I thought maybe I could identify things from pictures I’ve taken previously, but so many mushrooms look alike to my amateur eye, I think I’d need the mushroom up close and personal to have the faintest chance. I will table this activity for the next time we have a fungal bloom (ie that we actually get some rain).
As for recognizing poisonous mushrooms, I looked up what the Death Cap mushroom looked like and some others that are also deadly. I ended up just getting overwhelmed. What I found is that they really don’t look all that distinct. They’re white and look like pretty normal mushrooms. I was hoping for something very distinct like fluorescent pink with purple spots (or something as distinguishable as the orange stinkhorn mushroom that grew in our garden that I have pictured above). I did learn that mushrooms that would make you sick are widespread, and that some of the most common families include poisonous mushrooms.
My take-away message from this is that mycology is probably not going to be a self-taught endeavor on my part. But next time I take the kids to our local nature center for a guided nature walk, I’m going to be definitely be bringing all the fungi from our yard that I can find and picking that person’s brain.
Do you know anything about how to learn to identify mushrooms?