1. Health & Lifestyle

Mushroom: How to Differentiate Between Poisonous and Edible Mushrooms; Know the Most Dangerous Ones

Pronami Chetia
Pronami Chetia

Mushroom is one of the most popular and exotic vegetables amongst the vegan. It comes with incredible health benefits including cancer beating properties but is equally dangerous that can take away your life. Mushroom is also a leading source of the antioxidant nutrient selenium in the produce aisle. You need to know that not every mushroom is edible and some of them come with hazardous poison which even led to death. Even, it is responsible to take away the life of a great number of people across India. Due to a lack of awareness, people consume the poisonous mushroom and invited painful death. 

So, it’s quite important to identify which one is edible and which one is poisonous. It’s even important for the buyer who thought it is safe to buy from the market, but it’s not actually. So, every buyer, as well as the farmers, should identify and know the difference between the poisonous and edible mushrooms to save their lives and take the full benefits of this amazing vegetable. 


How to Differentiate Between Healthy and Poisonous Mushroom  

The simple answer to the question is that you can’t tell the difference without identifying the individual mushroom you have found. Some poisonous mushrooms can kill, so you must be able to accurately name the fungus and be 100% sure of what it is before consumption. 

There are some apparent rules for picking safe mushrooms as per some of the science reports. 

  • ‘It’s not ok if you can peel the cap.’ If it happens then you should stay away from that mushroom. 

  • ‘Mushrooms growing on the wood are safe.’ No not all of them are and some are deadly, like the Funeral Bell. 

  • ‘If you see other animals eating them they are ok.’ This rule is not true; many animals can eat poisonous fungi with no ill effects. 

Some good rules apply for avoiding poisonous mushrooms if you are inexperienced about mushroom. 

  • Avoid mushrooms with white gills, a skirt or ring on the stem and a bulbous or sack-like base called a volva. You may be missing out on some good edible fungi but it means you will be avoiding the deadly members of the Amanita family. 

  • Avoid mushrooms with red on the cap or stem. Again you will be missing out on some good mushrooms but more importantly, you won’t be picking poisonous ones. 

  • Finally, don’t consume any mushrooms unless you are 100% sure of what they are.  

  • These rules don’t mean all other mushrooms are safe but help rule out some of the nastier types. 


Here is the list of nine Edible mushroom types (Source- Research) 

Cremini Mushrooms 

Cremini mushrooms are a variety of fungus that belongs to the white button mushroom family. 

The species name is Agaricus Bisporus, and this family of mushroom also includes portobello. 

These three mushrooms—cremini, portobello , and white button—are the three most commonly consumed in the world. 

Morel Mushrooms 

These are certainly one of the most unusual types of edible mushrooms. 

Morel mushrooms (Morchellaesculenta) look like honeycomb on a stick, and they have a strange, mysterious appearance which suggests we probably shouldn’t eat them. 

However, eat them we can, and they taste as unique as they look. 

Shiitake Mushrooms 

Shiitake (Lentinula edodes) is one of the most famous types of mushrooms for its delicious taste. 

The Most Poisonous Mushroom 

Now know the most poisonous mushrooms available in the world which can take you to the threshold of hell. 

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria) 

The fly agaric is the iconic toadstool of children’s fairy tales. Instantly recognizable with its bright red cap and white spots you would have to be an idiot to eat one of these! Or a child or pet. Whilst you can imagine why a kid may eat one of these it is less clear why dogs (and occasionally cats) seem to have a taste for them. Unfortunately, fly agaric is even more poisonous to these animals and invariably lethal. 

most poisonous mushroom

The Infamous Amanita 

The Amanita mushroom genus contains some of the deadliest mushrooms in the world. Certain species of Amanita contain amanitin, a lethal toxin that kills by shutting down the liver and kidneys. 

Learning to recognize an Amanita is a key aspect of poisonous mushroom identification. Fortunately, they aren't too hard to spot if you know what you're looking for. Check out this page to help you identify poisonous mushrooms in the Amanita genus. 

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