Sunday, December 2, 2012

Death by Mushrooms: Foragers be wary and aware!

"Death Cap" amanita emerging at Cape Chignecto National Park (Nova Scotia)
photo by Jonathan Schechter

A fourth senior citizen died a  few days ago from eating homemade soup made with poisonous mushrooms
 in  November at a senior care facility (Gold Age Villa)  in Northern California. The soup was prepared by
a caretaker  that gathered them on the grounds of the facility with the belief that they were prized
  chanterellee mushrooms.
They were not.

The residents fell victim to Amanitas, a species also found in the woods of Michigan.
The Placer County Sheriff's Department ruled the deaths accidental.

I share this slice of information as a word of caution in gathering wild edibles.
  I too am an active forager of edible plants of all sorts and with no snow on the ground in these
early days  of December treats of nature are still easily  available.
 But I never eat what I do not know. When it comes to mushrooms I only gather morels,
 shaggy manes and giant puffballs but never gather any mushrooms when they first emerge. 
Young shrooms of different species look similar. 
It's believed that is the fatal error made by the caretaker.

FACT: Nature is full of rich rewards and bountiful harvests.
FACT:  Nature is unforgiving when it comes to mistakes with mushrooms

Death Cap/Destroying Angel (Amanita)
Cape Chignecto Provencial Park, Nova Scotia
photo by Jonathan Schechter

A young fly amanita  (Amanita muscaria) emerging last year in my woods.
photo by Jonathan Schechter

 Mature Fly Amanita (Amaniata muscaria):  my woods, Brandon Township, Michigan
photo by Jonathan Schechter


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