The trouble with fungi

“Advice is like mushrooms. The wrong kind can be fatal…”

Charles E McKenzie

Last weekend I enjoyed a marvellous morning bushwalking in the Barossa Valley. It was the right time of year to encounter many outcrops of wild mushrooms. I was tempted to be a bit hipster and harvest some for a locavore treat. This raised the issue of which mushrooms were safe to eat. Folk traditions about identifying poisonous fungi abound- bright colouring, the ability to blacken silver metal, foul taste, pointed shaped cups and the lack of insect bites. Sadly, all are fallible. Mushroom poisoning usually involves gastro issues for a few days, but fatalities still occur, usually from late kidney or liver failure. Above is an image of the Amanita phalloides, which accounts for the majority of fatal mushroom poisonings worldwide. Famous people linked to death from mushrooms include, Buddha, Emperor Claudius, composer Schubert and the physicist Fahrenheit. #eventuallywenttocoles #letsmakelemonade

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