5 Mushrooms to Avoid in the Pacific Northwest

5 Mushrooms to Avoid in the Pacific Northwest

June 12, 20185204Views2Comments

Millions of diners around the world eat and enjoy mushrooms. The Pacific Northwest is home to hundreds of wild mushroom species, some of which are safe and delicious. Others, however, can be fatal if eaten. Although safe and edible mushrooms far outnumber poisonous mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest, anyone foraging for mushrooms must know which Pacific Northwest poisonous mushrooms to avoid so they do not suffer from “mycetism”, or mushroom poisoning.

Mushrooming is a popular hobby in the Pacific Northwest, particularly in the autumn months when many mushrooms are flourishing. However, to really enjoy a meal, hikers, backpackers, and everyone else in the Pacific Northwest should be 100 percent certain of a mushroom’s identification and know which mushrooms to avoid.

Pacific Northwest Poisonous Mushrooms


Pacific Northwest Poisonous Mushrooms: Conocybe
via pellaea

Deadly conocybe mushrooms have rust-colored brown gills and conical caps. Also called Pholiotina filaris, these poisonous mushrooms are found throughout the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, these common mushrooms are often mistaken for Psilocybe, but they contain lethal mycotoxins, which are deadly if ingested.


Death Cap

Pacific Northwest Poisonous Mushrooms: Death Cap
via onnola

Death caps are beautiful, medium to large mushrooms that resemble safe paddy straw mushrooms. Unfortunately, as their name suggests, death caps are highly toxic, and the deadly mushroom is largely responsible for most incidents of mushroom poisonings in the Pacific Northwest and around the world.


Deadly Galerina

Pacific Northwest Poisonous Mushrooms: Deadly Galerina
via pellaea

Deadly galerina mushrooms may be gorgeous, but they contain a-amanitin, which is a deadly toxin that damages liver cells, the central nervous system, and the kidneys. So, everyone should resist the temptation to pick these beautifully lethal Pacific Northwest poisonous mushrooms at all cost.


False Morel

Pacific Northwest Poisonous Mushrooms: False Morel
via michaelll

Also called sponge mushrooms, false morels belong to the genus Gyromitra. They are easily recognizable by their distinctive and intricately folded caps that have a striking resemblance to the human brain. Although they are often mistaken for true morels, some false morels contain mono methyl hydrazine, which is a carcinogen that can induce vomiting, diarrhea, dizziness, and even death.


Destroying Angel

Pacific Northwest Poisonous Mushrooms: Destroying Angel
via vastateparksstaff

With a name like destroying angel, mushroom hunters would be wise to avoid these Pacific Northwest poisonous mushrooms. Unfortunately, the destroying angel mushroom is one of the most common poisonous mushrooms in the Pacific Northwest. Similar to death caps, destroying angels contain amatoxins, which destroys liver and kidney tissues within mere hours of consumption. Ultimately, those who eat destroying angel mushrooms experience a slow and painful death.


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