Highly recognizable thanks to a red coloring and prominent white spots, amanita muscaria mushrooms have been widely reported around Colorado this summer. This is likely due to a wet year thus far.

These mushrooms are considered to be poisonous and consumption of them have reportedly led to hospitalizations in Colorado in recent years. They’re also capable of killing dogs and other animals when consumed.

Amanita muscaria are known to grow in coniferous forest terrain, often near pine trees.

According to ColoradoMushrooms.com, while some refer to this mushroom as “Colorado’s Magic Mushroom,” it’s quite different than a Psilocybin mushroom (the type most commonly referred to as a “magic mushroom” that was decriminalized in Denver in May 2019). This website reports that consuming the amanita muscaria mushroom is not recommended and lists it as poisonous.

One 2014 CBS Denver article states that wet weather contributed to a boost in amanita muscaria numbers during the summer of that year, likely a reason why so many of these mushrooms are again being seen in Colorado’s forests. The same article also covers the story of a teenage girl who ate one of these red and white mushrooms, resulting in her hospitalization. According to the girl’s father, the consumption of the mushroom put her in a catatonic state.

Another article by The Atlantic refers to these mushrooms as poisonous and hallucinogenic, more common in times of heavy rain.

According to a webpage published by Washington University, consuming amanita muscaria can result in hallucinations, muscle jerks, and drowsiness, among other things. Another website on the subject states that another risk of seeking to consume the amanita muscaria is mistaking it for another amanita, which are often quite deadly.

Unlike some mushrooms that can result in hallucinogenic side effects if consumed, the amanita muscaria is currently uncontrolled at a federal level, meaning that cultivating, buying, possessing is typically legal. The mushroom is not approved for human consumption at a federal level. Some states do have additional laws and regulations regarding the mushroom.

In other words, skip this mushroom while you’re collecting for human consumption. The poisonous nature, unpredictable result of consumption, and reports of related deaths make consuming this a risk.

Thankfully, if you’re looking to collect edible mushrooms in Colorado, you’ve got plenty of options. Here’s a great resource for that.

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