April 4th – Mushroom or Toadstool?

Growing Wild

Toadstool or mushroom?

Actually, it’s both. In fact according to a random website that’s bombarding me with pop-ups, apparently there is no physical, scientific or any other distinction between mushrooms and toadstools. Shape, colour, size, smell, toxicity, taste. They are all attributes of fungi that you can refer to as either name.

The grading of fungi is rather dramatic – non-toxic, mildly toxic, hallucinogenic, and extremely poisonous.

And just a word of warning for our mushroom picking Canberran friends – it’s Death Cap Mushroom season. You may recall a Canberran restaurant serving a dish which contained death caps, which claimed the lives of 2 diners. According to Dr Gunja from the NSW Poisons Information Centre, Death Cap Mushroom’s attack the liver. A ‘reasonable’ level of ingestion results in a fatality rate of 25-50%.

Death Cap Mushrooms are regarded as the most toxic mushroom in the world. Something else to be proud of in this land girt by sea.

But no matter how closely I looked, I couldn’t find a hookah smoking caterpillar anywhere near this toadstool.

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