I've recently gotten into foraging for mushrooms locally and have been happily eating field mushrooms and giant puffballs (these are absolutely delicious if you can find them BTW).

I was reading a foraging book the other day and it stated that there is only one truly deadly poisonous mushroom in the UK (The Death cap). All the others may well make you really ill but would be unlikely to kill you, unless you eat them in large quantities.

Is this true?

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    "All things are poison and nothing is without poison; only the dose makes a thing not a poison." - Paracelsus (sorry :) )
    – imsodin
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 9:08
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    Actually Paracelsus is a Swiss compatriot (was born like 30km from here) living during the Renaissance ;)
    – imsodin
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 9:31
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    There are a few - John Wright fed some mildly poisonous ones to Hugh Fearnly-Whittingstall as a revenge prank (he got numb tongue) - that said John Wright is the ultimate UK based mushroom guy - he does courses even.... he has some pointers on foraging mushrooms: ediblebush.com/foraging+warnings
    – Aravona
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 11:04
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    Webcaps en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Orellani almost killed the author of The Horse Whisperer, Nicholas Evans, when he ate some in Scotland. Several people were poisoned and had to undergo dialysis, I believe Evans and a couple of other members of the party had kidney transplants as a result.
    – Spagirl
    Commented Aug 11, 2017 at 13:15

1 Answer 1


I am quite certain that there are more deadly mushrooms than just the one you mentioned - if only for the other members of the Amanita Genus, many of which are very poisonous and some plain kill you.

E.g. Amanita Vitrosa, with the uncommonly poetic name destroying angel (German: Weisser Knollenblätterpilz), is just as deadly as the one you mentioned. What makes it potentially even more dangerous (or at least I was told so by several people who taught me mushroom foraging as a kid) is that it has some similarities to the Agaricus (German: Champignon), some of which are commonly collected for eating. Apparently it happens that people mix them up and get themselves killed this way.

Bottom line: Best don't touch anything from the Amanita Genus. From Wikipedia:

Although some species of Amanita are edible, many fungi experts advise against eating a member of Amanita unless the species is known with absolute certainty. Because so many species within this genus are so deadly toxic, if a specimen is identified incorrectly, consumption may cause extreme sickness and possibly death.

2nd Bottom line: know your mushrooms. Stick to the ones you know well and are clearly distinguishable from poisonous members of the Fungi kingdom.

If ever in doubt, don't eat them - or get the mushrooms tested first: I don't know about other places, but in Switzerland in mushroom season there are designated mushroom control offices where people can bring their finds and have them looked at by a fungi expert. (See VAPKO, page in German/French/Italian)

  • Champignon is the English word too BTW :)
    – user2766
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 8:24
  • @Liam hehe, good to know. I looked it up in some dictionaries and it simply translated to 'mushroom'.
    – fgysin
    Commented Aug 14, 2017 at 8:28

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