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Poisonous Mushrooms

There are a thousand or more varieties of mushrooms that are good to eat....The most dreaded of the poisonous mushrooms are two members of the Amanita group. One is the death cup, and the other is the fly amanita.

The death cup grows in the woods from June until fall. Its poison acts like the venom of a rattlesnake, as it separates the corpuscles in the blood from the serum. No antidote is known for the poison of the death cup. The only hope for anyone who has eaten it is to clean out his stomach promptly with a stomach pump. It is small wonder that one variety is known as the destroying angel.

The death cup has often been mistaken for the common mushroom. A person should not make this mistake if he observes carefully. The poisonous plant has white gills, white spores, and the fatal poison cup around the stem. The plant that is safe to eat has pink gills, brown spores, and no cup. Many of the mistakes come from picking it in the button stage, for it does not show all these differences until it has grown larger.

Family Survival in the American Jungle, Steve Farrar, 1991, Multnomah Press, pp. 17-18