How To Tell If Backyard Mushrooms Are Poisonous?

How To Tell If Backyard Mushrooms Are Poisonous?

If you like to eat mushrooms, you might wonder, “are the mushrooms in your backyard edible?”. Some mushrooms in your yard can be edible, but never eat a mushroom unless you can positively identify it and are 100% certain that it is safe. So how can you tell if a backyard mushroom is safe?

Although less than five percent of known mushrooms are toxic or have an uncertain edible value, some toxic mushrooms grow in your yard. And although most adults are aware of the cautions against eating unfamiliar mushrooms, children and pets might sample them for the sake of curiosity. If you have young children or pets, it is best to get rid of any unfamiliar mushrooms that show up in your yard.

To be safe, use gloves or a small shovel, and pull out or dig as far into the mushrooms as possible, not just the caps, and put them in a plastic bag right away. Seal the bag tight so that no spores can escape, then place in the bin. Make sure you thoroughly wash gloves, tools, and hands after handling unfamiliar mushrooms.

Identifying mushrooms is not always straightforward, and many edible and toxic mushrooms look a lot alike. People identify mushrooms using the various parts of a mushroom. Here’s a bit more on how to tell if backyard mushrooms are poisonous.

Check for white gills:

Look under the mushrooms caps for that. If a mushroom has white gills, it is likely toxic, like most mushrooms that have white gills.

Look for a partial veil or ring:

Some mushrooms have rings around the stem, and while a handful of edible species do have this trait, it is a widespread trait in toxic mushrooms. To be on the safe side, avoid any mushrooms that have rings on their stem.

Check the stem base for a volva:

The highly toxic amanita mushrooms have rings on the base of the stalks, as well as volvae. The volva can be under ground, so if you are not sure, just dig into the mushrooms base to test. There is one edible species of mushroom that has the volva. But since it is very similar to Death Caps and Demons Destroyer, you are better off avoiding them.

Is the mushroom red?:

Mushrooms with a red color on the caps or stems are poisonous or hallucinogenic.

What To Do If A Child Or Pet Accidentally Ingests Backyard Mushroom

Removing and avoiding eating any mushrooms from your yard are the best options when trying to prevent pets or children from consuming them. But what if a pet or a small child does eat a random mushroom from your backyard?

If a child or animal has consumed wild mushrooms, get immediate medical help. Find a ER or urgent care vet, and bring with you a sample of the mushroom that they consumed. The ER physician and the vet will have to analyze the sample to determine whether or not it is toxic, and what their treatment plan is. They might have to work with an expert on mushrooms.

Treatments range from inducement of vomiting, drinking activated charcoal, to taking antidotes. After eating the toxic mushroom, you can expect to experience stomach pain, vomiting, and diarrhea, which may become bloody. These are the most common symptoms, but others may occur, including death.

Remove any mushrooms growing in the grass or bark of trees. Without an experts knowledge about the species of mushrooms, it is best to get rid of mushrooms. This keeps you, your children, and your pets safe from potentially harmful mushrooms.

If your current lawn care provider is not treating the fungus issue, consider using a service that will. Find an environmentally-friendly lawn care service that uses robotic, battery-powered mowers and hardware to care for your lawn year-round, including eliminating any mushroom problems on the lawn. Use them to keep your kids safe, your pets safe, and your backyard looking great.

About the author

Bruce Wilson

I've studied Mycology and Forest Pathology and love creating content to help other learn more about my passion. Follow along as I continue to explore the amazing world of functional fungi!

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