Deadly mushroom warning after Easter rain creates perfect conditions for the poisonous fungi to flourish
- Stay away from wild mushrooms, Victorians told
- Rain has meant deadly mushrooms are thriving
Victorians are being warned to stay away from wild mushrooms, with Easter downpours creating ideal conditions for poisonous fungi to flourish.
Death cap mushrooms are the most dangerous species and are typically found near oak trees in both regional and metropolitan areas.
They have a large yellow-green or olive-brown cap and can cause stomach pains, vomiting, diarrhoea, organ failure and even death within 48 hours.
Yellow staining mushrooms are the most common cause of fungi poisoning in Victoria and look very similar to supermarket-bought field mushrooms.
They grow in lawns and gardens, and the severity of symptoms, once consumed, depends on how much of the mushroom is ingested.
Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria research scientist Dr Camille Truong displays poisonous Death Cap mushrooms
Poisonous Death Cap (left) and Yellow-staining Mushrooms are particularly deadly
Deputy Chief Health Officer Clare Looker is urging Victorians not to pick or eat wild mushrooms this autumn.
‘It is very difficult to distinguish between poisonous and edible wild mushrooms, so people are advised to only consume commercially bought mushrooms,’ she said.
She asked anyone who suspected they have eaten a poisonous mushroom to seek help immediately and not wait for symptoms to appear.
Mushroom lovers falling victim to poisonous picks were among 60 people who made mushroom-related calls to the state’s poison information centre during April-May last year, resulting in some referrals to hospital.
In 2020 Victoria had a spate of death cap poisonings, with eight people in hospital at one point. Five ended up in intensive care and one died.
In 2012, two people died after eating the deadly mushrooms at a New Year’s Eve party in Canberra and four others in the ACT were seriously poisoned two years later.
The death cap is often found in the Canberra area, as well as around Melbourne, Tasmania and Adelaide.
Wild mushrooms can also be lethal for pets.