Death Caps and Others to Stay Away From
Reports about foragers getting sick and, in some cases, dying from eating wild mushrooms appear every fall.
Recently, a Central Valley Woman died after eating Death Caps
) which are found in this area during fall/winter. Her husband and cousin survived but one required a liver transplant. The death caps resemble a type that is consumed in Asian countries but many foragers are unable to identify the difference between the edible varieties that grow in their native land and the poisonous ones that resemble them here.
© David Arora - Mushrooms Demystified
Death Caps are not the only ones emerging now. In my walks in the neighborhood I have come across some others to stay away from.
Bitter, and hallucinogenic. Found in clusters near base of trees.
Big Laughing Jim (Gymnopilus spectabilis)
Satan's Bolete (Boletus satanas)
There is a saying that "There are old mushroom pickers and there are bold mushroom pickers, but there are no old, bold mushroom pickers". It is good to remember that. After foraging for about 15 years I still check and double check before I think of eating unfamiliar specimens.
Then There Are Chanterelles
My first chanterelles of the season.
Their distinctive color, shape, and smell make them easy to identify. And they are delicious. The 2008/9 season was not very bountiful because of low rainfall. This season,too, we have had very little rain. But they have begun to appear. During a hike with friends on November 25th we found some; encouraging sign.
Commercial sellers send out teams of mushroom pickers. Not only do they trample through the woods in their quest to make money, they leave a trail of beer cans, bottles, food containers and such trash. Very annoying.
Thanksgiving Day, Mariposa Ave, Palo Alto, California