Amanita Phalloides

There is an old saying that “There are old mushroom hunters, and bold mushroom hunters. But there are no old, bold mushroom hunters.” Bit of exaggeration? Sure. But it’s critically important to know what you’re eating! The term "poisonous" refers to a wide range of toxicity, covering the range from mild nausea to allergic reactions to life-threatening illness. If you suspect that you have consumed a poisonous mushroom, contact a physician, go to the Emergency Department, or contact Poison Control:

Your best chance of identification is to have a sample of the mushroom with you. The more complete your specimen is, the better chance to ID correctly. A complete specimen consists of the cap, stem, bottom of the mushroom and any roots or fluff that may have been part of the mushroom at one time. Store in a paper or waxed paper bag (not plastic) in the refrigerator until needed. Note where the mushrooms were collected in case of potential contamination by pesticides or heavy metals from lawns, roadsides or industrial areas.

Dominican Hospital: (831) 462-7700 in Santa Cruz and Watsonville Hospital: (831) 724-4741 in Watsonville keep a list of contacts for identification of suspect fungi. Dominican Hospital is engaged in a clinical trial of intravenous Silibinin (milk thistle extract) in the treatment of amatoxin mushroom poisonings. Dr. Todd Mitchell is the Principal Investigator. Link to NIH site: http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT00915681

Non-Emergency Mushroom Identification

For general identification of mushrooms (not a poisoning case) please bring them to a monthly General Meeting (Calendar), the annual Fungus Fair (Fungus Fair page), or send a request to the FFSC google group (you will have to apply for membership if you are not yet a member of this group). When attaching images to emails for sending to the FFSC google group, please, resize them so that the largest dimension is smaller than 800px (72pdi).


Pets, particularly dogs, eat wild mushrooms on occasion. While the majority of mushrooms are not toxic, a highly toxic small percentage can cause illness and death in pets. Contact your veterinarian if you see your pet consume a wild mushroom and get a sample of the mushrooms in the area. For more information see the Links section.

Poisoning Reports

NAMA (North American Mycological Association) tracks all mushroom poisoning incidents. It is important to file a report, even for a minor gastrointestinal upset. After the incident, help document mushroom poisonings by submitting an online report or mail-in report to the NAMA Poison Case Registry.