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Warning about Death Cap mushrooms in Victoria and Vancouver

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Summary

The Death Cap mushroom is not uncommon in Vancouver and parts of Vancouver Island

VICTORIA (NEWS 1130) – There is a warning from Island Health about a poisonous mushroom known as the “Death Cap”, which has been spotted in residential areas near Victoria.

“This deadly mushroom has invaded from Europe and it has spread up and down the coast and now it’s quite common in both the Victoria and Vancouver areas,” says Paul Kroeger with the Vancouver Mycology Society.

He cautions, they do resemble safer cousins.

“It has been mistaken for Puffballs (mushrooms). The young unopened (Death Cap) buttons come out of the ground and they look very much like edible Puffballs until you slice them open and see a developing mushroom inside.”

“They’re (Death Cap) also mistaken for the Asian semi-tropical Paddy Straw Mushroom. That’s of particular risk to recent arrivals from Asia who may not be a aware that there’s a deadly look-alike to the Straw Mushroom.”

He encourages pickers to stick to forests as the Death Cap generally doesn’t grow there.

“People should be aware that there’s now great danger in having these extremely poisonous mushrooms in their urban environment. Especially be aware of young children that might graze on them out of curiosity or pets that might consume them.”

Attacking the liver and kidneys, the mushrooms are responsible for the poisoning of 17 people in California this year.