How Can You Tell a Mushroom Is Poisonous? (Solved!)

It’s not easy to tell if a mushroom is poisonous because mushrooms often look alike.

Generally, if you can see round rings on the stems of mushrooms, or they have colored heads with white dots on their red caps, then you can assume they are poisonous.

How to Tell the Difference Between Poisonous and Edible Mushrooms

It is quite difficult to distinguish an edible mushroom from a poisonous mushroom. To understand whether or not a mushroom is poisonous, you need to have a general understanding of mushrooms.

In fact, even having basic knowledge is not enough to protect you completely, because it is very difficult to understand which of the thousands of mushrooms is poisonous and which is non-poisonous. It takes an expert eye.

However, here are a few guidelines that experienced mushroom hunters have developed over the years. This can help you identify the toxicity status of the most common mushroom species.

  • If a mushroom cap is easy to open, then it is likely non-poisonous.
  • If a mushroom grows on wood, it is likely that you can consume it, but this is not always the case.
  • If you see insects crawling around the mushroom, it’s most likely non-toxic. But this can sometimes be misleading because the poison in the mushroom doesn’t affect all animals equally.

If you have a growing interest in mushroom hunting and are planning your first hunt, you should pay attention to the following:

  • Mushrooms with white gills and bulbous soles are most likely to be poisonous. Amanita mushrooms are among the best examples of these deadly mushrooms.
  • If a mushroom has a red cover or body, definitely do not eat them. There may be some non-toxic varieties among them, but only a few and it is not worth the risk.

What Are The Most Common Mushroom Species?


Most of the Agaric mushrooms are edible if properly cooked. These mushrooms have brown gills on their heads, a white cap, and a broad stem.

But not all of this family is edible. Some of the agarics are highly toxic. If you see a yellow chrome rot on the lid of an Agaric, it’s probably a poisonous mushroom. Other than that, pink and red spots indicate that it is edible.

Mushrooms are poisonous by their odor, and if an Agaric gives off a pleasant odor, it is probably non-poisonous.


This type of fungus, which has spongy pores and a large body, can usually be whitish or creamy in color. When you try to cut this mushroom in half, a milky liquid begins to flow.

This milk is hot and contains poisonous substances. The Boletes mushroom, which is highly poisonous, is one of the mushroom species that should definitely not be eaten.


This type of mushroom is very fragile and thin-bodied. Some members of this species are highly poisonous, while others are non-poisonous. However, although they are non-toxic, they are not recommended to be eaten.

If you bite into a small piece of Russula and you get a bitter peppery taste in your mouth, this mushroom is poisonous.


Amanitas are the most well-known poisonous mushrooms with their white gills and white spots on the red hat.

Amanitas have a very strong poison and can cause death in a short time if eaten. Another way to recognize this mushroom is the onion ring-like bases.

Before eating a mushroom, it is vital to check the base. The most dangerous Amanita members known are ”Angel of the Destroyer” and ”Hat of Death”.

How To Stay Safe When Picking Mushrooms For Eating?

One of the key points to staying safe when picking mushrooms is to handle them with plastic or nylon gloves. Do not handle any unfamiliar mushrooms with your bare hands.

Although mushrooms contain toxic substances, the outer surfaces of some mushrooms can also be poisonous. Mushrooms containing poison on their outer surface, although not fatal, can cause various skin diseases.

Another issue to be considered in edible mushroom hunting is where non-poisonous mushrooms are found. Non-poisonous fungi usually prey on wood and moldy wood. In addition, humid environments are indispensable for fungi.

What Happens If You Touch a Poisonous Mushroom?

If you touch a poisonous mushroom, symptoms can begin to appear within 30 minutes. This could cause a skin rash at worst but should be treated, especially if you have an open wound.

If you consume them, or the poison enters through a wound on the skin, symptoms usually present as a headache, nausea, vomiting, and fever and continue to increase as time progresses.

Depending on the type of poison, inflammation in the liver and kidney failure can be seen, while advanced cases can result in death if untreated.

How Long Does Mushroom Poisoning Last?

Symptoms of mushroom poisoning begin within 30 minutes to 2 hours and continue for an average of 6 hours to 2 days. In some unusual cases, this may be longer.

How Can You Tell If A Mushroom Is Safe?

Usually, when you look at a mushroom it is difficult to tell whether it is safe or not. Because mushroom species are very similar to each other. But some typical features can help distinguish poisonous mushrooms from nonpoisonous ones.

  • If a mushroom has small rings under its cap, these mushrooms can be poisonous.
  • Poisonous mushrooms may have darkened gills
  • If you cut a mushroom in two and it doesn’t leak any liquid from it, it is probably non-toxic.

Although this information is not certain, it is a general guide based on a number of experiences.

Can You Survive Eating A Death Cap Mushroom?

If you eat a Death Cap, whether you will survive depends on the amount of toxic substance in that mushroom.

Depending on the maturity of the mushroom at consumption, if untreated a Death Cap can kill you within 3 days or 2 weeks.

You can survive only by receiving treatment, which usually involves flushing the toxins out of your body.

Is There a Cure For Poisonous Mushrooms?

Unfortunately, there is no successful cure against poisonous mushroom ingestion.

Interventions are usually acute, such as gastric lavage, serum intervention, copious water intake, and vomiting, which are performed when the patient first shows symptoms.

What is The Most Poisonous Mushroom in The World?

The most poisonous mushroom in the world is “Amanitas Phalloides”, also known as the “Destroying Angel”.

Can You Touch a Destroying Angel?

Touching an Amanita, also known as “Destroying Angel”, which is an extremely poisonous mushroom, will not cause any poisoning.

In addition, other highly poisonous mushrooms such as Waxcaps, Jelly Babies, Puffballs, Hedgehog Mushrooms, Kidney-Shaped Soft Slipper Mushrooms, although they are poisonous, do not infect your skin when you touch them.