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Wild mushrooms

Foraging for wild mushrooms is becoming more and more popular in Ireland and Autumn is prime mushroom-picking season. There are hundreds of different species of mushrooms and it can be difficult to identify them. Experienced foragers will always advise that you NEVER EAT A MUSHROOM UNLESS YOU ARE 100% SURE YOU HAVE IDENTIFIED IT CORRECTLY.

Every year the Poisons Centre receives calls about possible mushroom poisoning.  Thankfully many cases are minor and patients experience only mild tummy upset.  However in some cases there can be very severe symptoms that require hospital treatment.

One of the most toxic mushrooms in Ireland is Amanita phalloides (Death Cap); see picture.  It can cause severe vomiting and diarrhoea followed by liver damage. Symptoms are often delayed for more than 6 hours after eating this mushroom. 

Other toxic species can cause many different symptoms including sweating, salivation, hallucinations, flushed skin, dilated pupils, delerium, and drowsiness. 

Please contact the Poisons Centre as soon as possible if you have eaten a wild mushroom and you develop any unusual symptoms. In more severe cases it may be useful to have a sample of the mushroom to be identified by an expert.  Good quality photographs with images of the gills and stalk may also be useful.