Death cap mushrooms (Amanita phalloides) typically appear in the Island Health region in the spring and late summer. Death cap mushrooms are extremely toxic and can make you sick or kill you if ingested.
Tips to stay safer while foraging for mushrooms:
- If you are uncertain or unsure – do not eat wild mushrooms.
- Do not pick wild mushrooms unless you are knowledgeable about local varieties of mushrooms or are foraging with a person who can accurately identify them.
- If you are new to British Columbia, mushrooms may look familiar to you but are not likely to be the same.
- Death cap mushrooms can be confused with some edible mushrooms, such as puffballs and paddy-straw mushrooms.
If you suspect that you have consumed a poisonous mushroom:
- Go to the nearest hospital
- Call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre at 1-800-567-8911 or call 911
- Keep a sample of the mushroom for testing
How do I properly dispose of death cap mushrooms?
- Wear rubber gloves when removing them, then wash your hands thoroughly
- Discard the mushrooms in the garbage container. Do not compost or use the food recycle garbage bin! Remove the mushrooms before mowing the lawn to avoid local spread.
- When removing the mushrooms, the bulbous base needs to be removed as well
- Unless necessary avoid lawn watering to conserve water and to suppress early fruiting of death caps.
Facts about death cap mushrooms:
- Death cap mushrooms are especially dangerous to toddlers and pets.
- Illness after eating death cap mushrooms is very serious: up to 30% of people who eat a death cap will die. Liver transplants are an often necessary life-saving procedure. Early treatment in hospital is essential.
- Gastrointestinal distress (nausea/vomiting) begins about 8 to 12 hours after ingestion. After up to 24 hours have passed, symptoms seem to disappear and people can feel fine for up to 72 hours. However, liver and kidney damage symptoms start 3 to 6 days after mushrooms are eaten.
- If you see death cap mushrooms, wear rubber gloves when removing them, wash your hands thoroughly, package them up with your regular garbage — do not compost or use the food recycle garbage bin — and remember to remove them before mowing the lawn to avoid local spread.
- Unless necessary, avoid lawn watering to conserve water and to suppress early fruiting of death caps.
Report death cap mushrooms growing in your neighbourhood. Note the location, take photographs and make a report to the Invasive Species of Concern.