Here’s a pro tip: If you find a mushroom growing from the ground, don’t eat it. Even if you think it’s safe, there’s a good chance it might not be, because some poisonous mushrooms look just like common non-poisonous ones. Ask any professional forager and they’ll tell you the same thing: It’s just not worth the risk. If you eat these five mushrooms, you’re going to have a very bad day.
These mushrooms resemble a couple different edible mushrooms (including the straw mushroom); the caps are generally greenish in color, with a white stem and gills. Death caps have killed more humans, including the Roman Emperor Claudius, than any other mushroom. They taste pleasant, and it takes a while for symptoms to appear, but while you may think all is well, your liver and kidneys will be in the process of shutting down. Death can occur six to 16 days after ingestion.
This all-white mushroom has a wide, flat cap, and is also called the fool’s mushroom because it resembles many edible species. It’s a relative of the death cap, so its effects are the same: violent cramps and diarrhea for the first few days, followed by kidney and liver failure caused by the amatoxins present in the mushroom.
These mushrooms are yellow-brown to brown, about an inch and a half across, and tend to grow on decaying conifers. The active toxin is also amatoxin, and death will come within seven days of consumption.
This orange mushroom closely resembles the edible chanterelle, but it’s very poisonous. It contains the poison illudin, which causes severe cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. It may not kill you, but it’ll be an experience you’re not likely to forget.
This rusty brownish-orange mushroom, common in northern Europe, contains the toxin orellanin. Symptoms show up after two to three days, and may at first appear to be the flu. Next comes kidney failure and, finally, death.