What Are The Deadliest Wild Mushrooms: 8 Wild Mushrooms To Avoid

What Are The Deadliest Wild Mushrooms: 8 Wild Mushrooms To Avoid

Mushroom hunting can be a fascinating and rewarding endeavor, but understanding the associated hazards is crucial. Although numerous mushrooms are safe to consume, several varieties can be fatal. This article examines the eight deadliest wild mushrooms that should be avoided at all costs. Whether you're a seasoned forager or a novice to the world of mushrooms, proper awareness of which ones to steer clear of is paramount to guard your safety while enjoying the great outdoors.

What Are Deadly Wild Mushrooms?

Deadly wild mushrooms are those that contain toxins that can be fatal if ingested. These toxins may induce multiple symptoms in humans - from gastrointestinal distress to liver failure and even fatality. Although several types of mushrooms are poisonous, only a select few pose a legitimate danger to humans.

What Are The Deadliest Wild Mushrooms

Here are the 8 deadliest wild mushrooms that you should avoid:

  1. Death cap (Amanita phalloides) - This mushroom is responsible for the majority of mushroom-related deaths worldwide. It contains a toxin that can cause liver failure and death within a few days of consumption. The death cap resembles many edible mushroom species, making it difficult to identify.
  2. Destroying angels (Amanita bisporigera) - Similar in appearance to the death cap, the destroying angel is responsible for many deaths each year. Its toxin can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and liver and kidney failure.
  3. Deadly webcap (Cortinarius rubellus) - This mushroom is found throughout Europe and contains the toxin orellanine, which can cause kidney failure and death.
  4. Fool's webcap (Cortinarius orellanus) - Another European mushroom, the fool's webcap contains the same toxin as the deadly webcap and can cause kidney failure and death.
  5. Angel of Death (Amanita ocreata)

The Angel of Death is a deadly fungi that is found in the western United States and Mexico. It contains the same amatoxins as the Death Cap and the Destroying Angel. Symptoms of the poisonous mushrooms typically appear 6-24 hours after ingestion and can include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, liver and kidney failure, and even death.

  1. Lepiota brunneoincarnata (Deadly Dapperling)

Another deadly wild mushroom that is worth mentioning is the Lepiota brunneoincarnata, also known as the Deadly Dapperling. While it may not be as well-known as the other deadly mushrooms on this list, it is just as dangerous. This mushroom is found in North America and Europe and has been responsible for several fatalities.

  1. Amanita virosa (A Virosa)

One of the deadliest wild mushrooms that is often overlooked is Amanita virosa, also known as A Virosa. This mushroom is commonly found in Europe and North America and contains the same deadly toxins as the other mushrooms on this list.

  1. Milky Conecap (Conocybe apala)

While not as well-known as the other deadly mushrooms on this list, the Milky Conecap is still worth mentioning. It contains the toxin amatoxin, which can cause liver and kidney failure and even death. This mushroom is found throughout North America and Europe and can easily be mistaken for edible mushroom species.

  1. Bonus: Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

While not considered deadly, the fly agaric mushroom can cause hallucinations and other unpleasant symptoms. It contains toxins that can cause nausea, vomiting, and dizziness. It's best to avoid this mushroom altogether.

How Common Are Fatal Mushroom Poisonings?

While fatal mushroom poisonings are relatively rare, they do occur. In the United States, an estimated 100 cases of mushroom poisoning are reported annually, with 5-10% resulting in fatalities. However, with many cases being unreported, the actual incidence of poisonings may be greater. It is imperative to note that even minimal ingestion of a deadly mushroom can be fatal, prompting caution and avoidance of unfamiliar species.

How To Stay Safe While Mushroom Hunting

When it comes to mushroom hunting, it is essential to take precautions to prevent accidental ingestion of poisonous mushrooms. Here are some tips to help you stay safe:

  1. Educate yourself: Learn about the different types of mushrooms and their associated toxins. Take a class or purchase a guidebook to help you identify safe mushrooms.
  2. Stick to familiar mushrooms: Only pick and consume mushrooms that you are certain are safe to eat. Avoid experimenting with unfamiliar mushrooms.
  3. Check the weather: Mushrooms are more likely to grow and become toxic in warm, damp conditions. Avoid picking mushrooms during rainy or humid weather.
  4. Use protective gear: Wear gloves and long sleeves to avoid touching poisonous mushrooms. Use a knife or scissors to cut mushrooms instead of pulling them out of the ground.
  5. Don't rely solely on color: The color of a mushroom can be misleading and does not always indicate whether it is safe to eat. Always double-check the identification before consuming.
  6. Cook your mushrooms: Cooking can help break down some of the toxins in mushrooms. Always cook your mushrooms thoroughly before consuming.

By following these tips and being cautious, you can safely enjoy the hobby of mushroom hunting without putting yourself at risk of accidental poisoning.

Where Are Deadly Mushrooms Most Commonly Found?

Deadly mushrooms can be found in various places, but they are most commonly found in damp, wooded areas. Some types of deadly mushrooms, such as the Death Cap, are commonly found in urban areas where they grow on the roots of trees. Other deadly mushrooms, such as the Destroying Angel, are found in grassy areas near trees. It's important to be cautious when picking mushrooms in these areas and to only pick and consume mushrooms that you are sure are safe.

What Should I Do If I Experience Mushroom Poisoning?

If you suspect that you have ingested a poisonous mushroom, it is crucial to seek immediate medical attention. Symptoms of mushroom poisoning vary widely, from gastrointestinal discomfort to organ failure, and their severity is dependent on both the type and amount of mushroom consumed. Do not induce vomiting or consume any food or beverages, as this can worsen the symptoms. It's also important to bring a sample of the mushroom (if possible) to help with identification and treatment.


Mushroom hunting can be a fun and rewarding hobby, but it's important to be cautious and knowledgeable before venturing into the world of mushrooms. Stick to familiar mushrooms, check the weather, use protective gear, don't rely solely on color, and always cook your mushrooms thoroughly before consuming. Remember that deadly mushrooms are most commonly found in damp, wooded areas, and if you suspect mushroom poisoning, seek medical attention immediately and bring a sample of the mushroom for identification. With these tips in mind, you can safely enjoy the hobby of mushroom hunting and appreciate the beauty and diversity of these fascinating organisms.

Final Thoughts

At Feral Fungi, we pride ourselves on our expertise in the world of mushrooms. Our focus is on creating top-quality mushroom extracts using only the finest locally-sourced US ingredients from our Oregon base. Join the thousands of Americans who have already embraced the benefits of our products and discover what Feral Fungi can do for you on your journey to wellness.


  1. http://bayareamushrooms.org/mushroommonth/amanita_phalloides.html
  2. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/125390-Amanita-bisporigera
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cortinarius_rubellus
  4. https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/cortinarius-orellanus.php
  5. https://www.inaturalist.org/taxa/67356-Amanita-ocreata
  6. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lepiota_brunneoincarnata
  7. https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/amanita-virosa.php
  8. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conocybe_apala
  9. https://www.first-nature.com/fungi/amanita-muscaria.php

*These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. Our product has not gone under clinical trial and is not intended to diagnose, treat, cure, or prevent any disease such as heart disease, diabetes, breast cancer, or any other diseases listed in this article. 


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