Mountain mushroom lovers know that Colorado is a prime spot for tracking down wild edibles. That being said, some mushrooms can be deadly, making it important to know what signs to watch out for. Here are a few deadly sprouts to watch out for as you set out to explore the wild world of mushroom hunting in Colorado. This list is not all-inclusive. Other dangerous mushrooms may be found 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 mushrooms are poisonous. If consumed, the result can be death. Hours after consuming, a deadly fungus attacks the liver with 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.
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, 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 can lead to kidney and liver failure.
3. Gyromitra Infula
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 two 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
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
Chlorophyllum molybdites mushrooms are also on the list of non-edible, poisonous mushrooms. These wild sprouts have an 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. Symptoms of consumption include, severe gastro-intestinal distress. Pets can be impacted as well.
6. Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca
The colorful Hygrophoropsis Aurantiaca mushroom is 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. Learn how to properly forage for wild mushrooms and remember many poisonous mushrooms often resemble edible ones. Knowing how to properly identify and prepare a mushroom could mean the difference between life and death.