If you are a fan of mushrooms, you might have wondered if you can eat any kind of mushroom that you find in the wild. The answer is no. Not all mushrooms are edible, and some of them are even poisonous. In fact, according to the North American Mycological Association, there are more than 10,000 species of mushrooms in North America, and only about 250 of them are considered edible. The rest are either inedible, tasteless, or toxic.
Eating a poisonous mushroom can cause serious health problems, such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage, kidney failure, or even death. Some of the most dangerous mushrooms include the death cap, the destroying angel, the false morel, and the amanita muscaria. These mushrooms can look very similar to edible ones, so it is not safe to rely on your eyesight or common sense to identify them. You need to be very careful and knowledgeable before you pick and eat any wild mushroom.
How to avoid mushroom poisoning
The best way to avoid mushroom poisoning is to only eat mushrooms that you buy from a reputable source, such as a grocery store, a farmer’s market, or a certified mushroom forager. If you want to learn how to identify and collect edible mushrooms in the wild, you should join a local mycological society or club, where you can get guidance from experienced mushroom hunters. You should also use a reliable field guide or app to help you recognize the different types of mushrooms and their features.
Remember, when it comes to mushrooms, it is better to be safe than sorry. Do not eat any mushroom that you are not 100% sure about. If you suspect that you or someone else has eaten a poisonous mushroom, call 911 or the Poison Control Center immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to appear or try to treat them yourself. Mushroom poisoning can be fatal if not treated promptly and properly.