California Poison Control Warns Heavy Rains Spawned Bumper Crop of Wild Poison Mushrooms


February 2, 2023

Heavy rains spawned a bumper crop of wild poison mushrooms according to a warning from California Poison Control System CPCS. CPCS experts are warning the public about the potential dangers of eating wild mushrooms. Buying cultivated mushrooms at a reputable food market is the safe way to eat them, rather than eating wild mushrooms that were picked by friends or family members. Heavy rains, which California just experienced, is experiencing a tremendous number of poisonous Amanita phalloides or “death cap” mushrooms which lead to an increase in human poisonings reported to CPCS.

Dr. Rais Vohra, CPCS Medical Director for the Fresno/Madera Division of CPCS, says, “No matter how experienced one is at mushroom identification, there is always a risk in eating wild mushrooms.” Contrary to folklore which says poison mushrooms are brightly colored, poison mushrooms typically look like most edible mushrooms. Death caps, abundant in California, can easily be mistaken for other edible mushrooms, growing mainly under coastal live oaks. There are more than 700 cases of mushroom ingestion reported to CPCS each year. Fatalities are uncommon, but do occur.

Eating poisonous mushrooms can cause abdominal pain, cramping, vomiting, diarrhea, liver damage and death. Symptoms typically develop six to 12 hours after eating. The most serious illnesses and deaths have been linked to mushrooms that cause liver damage, including Amanita ocreata or “destroying angel,” as well as the death cap.

Suggested Tweet: Never pick or eat wild mushrooms. Cooking does not make them safe! Call Poison Control at 1-800-222-1222.


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