Mountain mushroom lovers know that Colorado is a prime spot for tracking down wild edibles. From delicious to deadly species, it’s important to be aware of common dangerous mushrooms lurking in Colorado’s wilderness. Here are a few deadly sprouts to watch out for as you set out to explore the wild world of mushroom hunting in Colorado.

Editor’s Note: Mushrooms pictured below may look different than they actually appear out in the wild. 

1. Destroying Angel Mushroom

Destroying Angel Mushroom. Photo Credit: Larry Smith (Flickr).

Destroying Angel mushrooms are dangerously poisonous. If consumed, the result can be deadly. Hours after consuming, this deadly fungus attacks the liver with poisonous toxins. Eating just one of these liver-toxic mushrooms can be fatal for you and your pets – but don’t freight, this rare and wild sprout has only been spotted a handful of times in Colorado – nine times to be exact. Destroying Angel mushrooms are white-capped with center colors ranging from yellow to pink to tan. They are often mistaken for edible fungi such as the button mushroom, meadow mushroom, or the horse mushroom. The only difference is that they do not have a bulb at the base of the stem underground.

2.  Galerina Marginata

Galerina marginata, a deadly poisonous wild mushroom. Photo Credit:hekakoskinen (iStock).

Galerina Marginata, also known as the Deadly Galerina or Galerina Autumnalis, is one of the most poisonous mushrooms found in Colorado. While these “little brown mushrooms” appear small in size, they are known to grow in clusters on rotting wood of dead conifers and hold a strong smelly scent. According to the North American Mycological Association, symptoms usually occur within 6 to 24 hours of consuming Galerina Marginata mushrooms, which often leads to kidney and liver failure.

3. Gyromitra Infula

Gyromitra infula, commonly known as the hooded false morel or the elfin saddle. Photo Credit:hekakoskinen (iStock).

Gyromitra infula mushrooms are also considered extremely dangerous. One spot they’re often reported is in the mountains near Aspen. Headaches, abdominal distress, severe diarrhea, and vomiting are likely to occur within 2 to 24 hours of digesting these deadly sprouts. In severe cases, liver, kidney, and red blood could also be linked to death.

4. Amanita Muscaria

The amanita muscaria mushroom. Photo Credit: Photography (iStock).
The amanita muscaria mushroom. Photo Credit: Photography (iStock).

You’ll have no problem pointing out these deadly sprouts. Amanita Muscaria mushrooms are large with bright fiery red caps covered in blemish-like spots. They are known to grow in abundance throughout Colorado’s forest terrain in the summer months. Digesting this toxic mushrooms has reportedly led to hospitalizations in Colorado, where people have become very ill with nausea, vomiting, hallucinations, muscle jerks, and drowsiness. Death is rare, but very possible from cardiac or respiratory problems in severe cases. They’re also capable of killing dogs and other animals when consumed.

5. Chlorophyllum Molybdites

Poisonous Mushrooms in a lawn, Chlorophyllum molybdites, some common names of false parasol or green-spored parasol. It is commonly confused with the shaggy parasol; and is the most commonly consumed poisonous mushroom in North America. Photo Credit: cmannphoto (iStock).

Chlorophyllum molybdites mushrooms are also on the list of non-edible, poisonous mushrooms. These wild sprouts hold a strikingly odd appearance and are usually found growing in grassy areas among common weeds such as dandelions. Their monster size, ranging from 10 to 12 inches in diameter, makes them easy to spot. If exposed to their poisonous nature, severe gastro-intestinal distress may occur. Pets can be impacted as well.

6. Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca

False chanterelle hygrophoropsis aurantiaca mushrooms. Photo Credit: Adam88xx (iStock).

The brightly colored Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca mushrooms are known to grow well under pine trees, often referred to as the False Chanterelle. The edibility of this tulip-shaped fungus is questionable, to say the least. Some say Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca mushrooms are poisonous to consume, while others believe they are harmless. Regardless, we’re not taking any chances when it comes to eating these wild sprouts.

If you or someone you know has ingested an unknown mushroom species, do not wait for symptoms of illness to appear. Seek medical attention immediately. 

Editor’s Note: Eating wild mushrooms can be very dangerous and often deadly. Never eat a mushroom you can’t positively identify, even consuming edible mushrooms can cause lead to severe illness. Learn how to properly forage for wild mushrooms and remember many poisonous mushrooms often resemble edible ones. Knowing how to properly identify could mean the difference between life and death. 

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