poisonous mushrooms uk to avoid
poisonous mushrooms uk have been foraged, cultivated, and used throughout history.1 But whilst these fungi make a great addition to many recipes, it’s important to be cautious with some mushrooms, as not all are safe!
You should always be aware of poisonous mushrooms, as they can grow just about anywhere, including your garden lawn. In the UK, there are several dangerous mushrooms you should be on the lookout for, like the death angel mushroom and the death cap mushroom.
So, we’ve put together a helpful list of 10 of the most toxic mushrooms and tips on poisonous mushroom identification so that you can stay safe and informed.
13 poisonous mushrooms to avoid
Whether you’re looking to forage wild mushrooms or just want to learn more about these mysterious fungi, it’s wise to know which poisonous mushrooms uk are poisonous or even deadly, as mushrooms can grow in so many places, including your garden.
If you spot one of these poisonous fungi growing on your garden lawn, by your shed or in your borders, be careful! Remove and discard them carefully, especially if you have pets or children playing outside.2
Regardless of whether you’re out foraging or spotted a mysterious mushroom in your garden, here are 10 of the most poisonous mushrooms to know about:
1. Death cap poisonous mushrooms uk
This small, green-tinted poisonous mushrooms uk might look innocent enough, but it is actually the most toxic mushroom worldwide and is responsible for the highest number of fatal mushroom poisonings across the globe.3
Death cap mushrooms, or Amanita phalloides, contain alpha-amanitin. This toxin can cause liver and kidney failure 6 to 24 hours after ingestion, and in fact, this mushroom is so deadly that eating just half a cap (the round top) can kill.4 These poisonous fungi grow on the ground in broadleaved woods, like those populated with oak and birch trees, and can often be found from A
2. Deadly webcap mushrooms
While these toxic mushrooms are rare in the UK, deadly webcap mushrooms are fatal, poisonous mushrooms responsible for many deaths in Europe. Sometimes confused for a chanterelle mushroom, deadly webcaps contain a poison called orellanine.6
Deadly webcap mushrooms, or Cortinarius rubellus, grow throughout August to November on the ground, amongst plants like heather, in coniferous pine or spruce forests. They have a unique pointed cap and are orange brown in colour.7
3. Destroying or death angel mushrooms
With their striking, pure-white appearance, you might be fooled into thinking these mushrooms are harmless, but they are highly poisonous and sometimes deadly. Just one small piece of a death angel mushroom is enough to be fatal, and there is currently not thought to be an antidote.8
Death angel mushrooms, or Amanita virosa, contain deadly toxins which result in severe stomach pains and poisoning of the liver and kidneys between 8 and 24 hours after they’ve been consumed.9
These toxic mushrooms grow on the ground in broadleaved woods, particularly birch woods, from July to November. They also like to grow near oak trees too and could even pop up on your garden lawn.10
4. Fool’s conecap poisonous mushrooms uk
These small, cone-shaped, brown mushrooms are deadly poisonous, as they contain alpha-amanitin, which is toxic to your liver once ingested.
Fool’s conecap mushrooms, or Pholiotina rugosa, like to grow amongst leaf litter, rotting woodchip, sawdust, rich soil, and compost from July to October – so you could find these growing in your garden! They have small, smooth, and shiny caps that measure around 2cm across and flatten as it nears the edge.11
5. Funeral bell poisonous mushrooms uk
Poisonous and deadly, these little mushrooms definitely live up to their ominous-sounding name. Whilst not overly common in the UK, these small but fatal mushrooms like to grow on dead, decaying wood on tree stumps or bark in coniferous woods from August to November and can still be found in areas of the UK where these conditions are met.12
Funeral bell mushrooms, or Galerina marginata, contain deadly amatoxins, the same toxins as in death cap mushrooms. If ingested, these toxins can make you sick, damage your liver and possibly result in death.13
6. Panther cap poisonous mushrooms uk
Beautiful but sinister, panther cap mushrooms are brown, spotty, and poisonous. These spotted fungi cause intense sickness after you eat them and significantly affect the central nervous system. They can induce vivid hallucinations, confusion, visual distortion, delusions, and convulsions, which can sometimes be fatal.14
Panther poisonous mushrooms uk (Amanita pantherina) grow from July to
7. Deadly webcap (Cortinarius rubellus)
Though rare in the UK, deadly webcap is – as the name suggests – a deadly poisonous fungus.
In Europe, it has been responsible for several deaths
In Europe, it has been responsible for several deaths. Often individuals have consumed the mushroom because they have mistaken it for poisonous mushrooms uk (Cantharellus cibarius) and magic mushroom (Psilocybe species).
Where: Normally found in coniferous pine and spruce woods, it grows on the ground and is often among heather and bilberry.
When: The poisonous mushrooms uk can be spotted from August through to November.
Symptoms: The webcap poisonous mushrooms uk contains a long-lasting poison called orellanine. Two to three days after ingestion, the individual will begin to experience the initial effects. These include:
- Flu-like symptoms
- Kidney failure
- Possible death
You’ll also get the same symptoms from its relative the fool’s webcap (Cortinarius orellanus).
8. Death cap (Amanita phalloides)
The death cap is the most poisonous mushrooms uk known and it’s common in England. It’s responsible for most fatal mushroom poisonings worldwide.
Where: Found on the ground amongst broadleaved woods.
When: August to November.
Symptoms: Initial symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea and severe abdominal pain from 6 to 24 hours after ingestion. This poisonous mushroom can also lead to kidney and liver failure and most shockingly, ingesting just half a cap can lead to death.
9. Destroying angel (Amanita virosa)
Its dramatic name is suitable for this pure white, deadly mushroom because just one piece of destroying angel in a soup made from otherwise edible species is enough to kill everyone who eats the soup.
Where: Found on the ground amongst broadleaved and mixed woodland, especially birch woodland.
When: Spot this deadly mushroom from July through to November.
Symptoms: The destroying angel contains deadly amatoxin poisons which take effect 8 to 24 hours after ingestion. Symptoms include vomiting, diarrhoea, and severe stomach pains. There may be a deceiving period of improvement before the second effects of liver and kidney poisoning occur.
10. Funeral bell (Galerina marginata)
A small, inconspicuous but deadly poisonous mushrooms uk . Thankfully, the species is not particularly common in Britain. Funeral bell sprouts from clusters on tree stumps and bark.
Where: Spot the shroom in mixed or coniferous woods. It normally grows on dead and decaying wood.
When: August to November.
Symptoms: Like the death cap, the funeral bell contains deadly poisonous amatoxins. The poison causes vomiting, liver damage and – worst case scenario – death.
11. Fool’s funnel (Clitocybe rivulosa)
Fool’s funnel, sometimes referred to as the sweating poisonous mushrooms uk , has potentially deadly effects that involve excessive sweating. It often grows alongside the edible Scotch bonnet (Marasmius oreades) so take care if you’re on an edible mushroom foray.
Where: Find fool’s funnel in lawns, meadows and other grassy areas.
When: July to early December.
Symptoms: This deadly shroom contains the toxin muscarine which has many effects on the body when ingested, including excessive salivation, sweating and tear production.
In large doses, symptoms can include:
- Abdominal pain
- Blurred vision
- Laboured breathing
In severe cases it can cause death but in healthy people, it is rarely fatal.
12. Panther cap (Amanita pantherina)
The panther cap is distinctive for its dark brown colour and white warts. It’s uncommon in the UK, unlike its less common sister to fly agaric.
It contains similar toxins to those in fly agaric (Amanita muscaria).
Where: Find the toxic poisonous mushrooms uk in broadleaved woods, especially beech or oak.
When: July to November.
Symptoms: Intense sickness can occur after ingestion but the main effects are on the central nervous system. They include:
- Vivid hallucinations
- Visual distortion
- A feeling of greater strength
- It can be fatal in rare cases
13. Angel’s wings (Pleurocybella porrigens)
This distinctive pure white bracket-like fungus grows in clusters on decaying conifer wood. It’s quite common in the Scottish Highlands and in Cumbria but is rare elsewhere.
Where: In conifer woodlands, on decaying stumps and branches.
When: Autumn months.
Symptoms: There have been some recorded cases of poisoning after ingesting this species. Chemicals in the poisonous mushrooms uk are toxic to the brain and can cause permanent brain injuries and even death.