DANGER! Many wild mushrooms are poisonous. Some, like the Destroying Angel, are deadly. Never eat any wild mushroom without properly identifying it. There are many good field guides available, but some these may have errors, so it is best to cross check or even triple check different guides. Also, some edible mushrooms have deadly poisonous twins. Always spore print for accurate identification.
Under no circumstances should you rely solely on an Internet source for identification of any edible mushroom. There are many errors and unscrupulous purveyors of false information on the web.
DO NOT assume that if a mushroom shows signs of having been browsed or eaten by wildlife that humans can do the same. Deer can eat the Fly Agaric mushroom, Amanita muscaria, without harm, but to people this mushroom is extremely toxic.
NEVER eat any mushroom growing on another mushroom or fungi. It may acquire some of the properties of a potentially poisonous host.
While it is best to cook all edible mushrooms, DO NOT think that cooking a poisonous mushroom will make it safe to eat. Recently, one of the world's foremost mushroom experts died after ingesting deadly Galerina autumnalis that had been cooked and served to him in a meal!
Finally, NEVER "sample," or taste-test any mushroom raw, and NEVER assume that if a mushroom smells "mushroomy" and tastes good, that it is edible. Amanita virosa, the Destroying Angel, is one of the tastiest mushrooms, but ingesting it almost always ends in death!
Any mushroom or bracket growing on another mushroom or fungi should not be eaten. These mini-puffballs would have been delicious if they weren't growing on this Ganoderma!
Most puffballs are edible as long as the inside still looks like white bread as in this photo, but do not eat once they start to darken. Also, beware of the Poison Pigskin Puffball!
The mushroom above is growing on the roots of a white ash tree, and could be an ash bolete. But is it? There are poisonous boletes that look similar. Be careful! Always test boletes by bruising the underside of the cap, (see photo below.) If the pores turn blue after a short time, do not eat!
These mushrooms, growing at the base of a white
pine tree, could be Kuerhneromyces mutabilis,
which is edible, or Galerina autumnalis, which is
as deadly as the Destroying Angel. Only proper
identification through spore printing will reveal the
The mushrooms above show evidence of browsing, but this does not indicate edibility. The animal that sampled these mushrooms may have become ill or died as a result.
Don't be fooled by clever names! These Jack-O-Lantern mushrooms are extremely poisonous!
A parasitic fungus has attacked the mushrooms
above, disguising their true identities. They are
Destroying Angels. Eating them would almost certainly bring death!
This beautiful Fly Agaric to the right was eaten by a deer just after this photo was taken, but is can be poisonous to humans!
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