Northern California December 28, 2019
Two Of The World’s Most Toxic Mushrooms Can Be Found In Northern California Each Year
It’s officially the wet season here in Northern California and along with it comes something you’ll definitely want to look out for—toxic mushrooms. Mushrooms start sprouting up all over our region of the state as soon as the season’s first rain arrives. Most of them are completely harmless but some of them are downright deadly and everybody should be familiar with them. In fact, there are
two species of toxic mushrooms in NorCal that you’ll want to especially keep an eye out for if you plan on exploring the outdoors this winter. Read on to learn how to spot these deadly mushrooms as they appear in the wild.
During these uncertain times, please keep safety in mind and consider adding destinations to your bucket list to visit at a later date.
Toxic mushrooms can be found in many Northern California landscapes during this time of year. The Bay Area, specifically the East Bay, is especially culpable of growing these deadly fungi so you'll want to be sure to educate yourself on how to spot them.
In fact, the Bay Area is home to two of the world's most toxic mushrooms: Amanita phalloides and Amanita ocreata (most commonly known as Death Cap and Western Destroying Angel, respectively.) These two species of mushrooms have many things in common, including the fact that they both contain lethal toxins.
Both Death Caps and Western Destroying Angels are known to contain amatoxins, which are groups of molecules that interfere with cellular metabolism in many animals. The liver and kidneys are the first organs specifically affected in mammals after ingesting amatoxins.
Symptoms typically begin to appear around 12 hours after consuming one of these toxic mushrooms. The toxin's effects are severe and ultimately deadly, beginning with gastrointestinal distress and eventually progressing to liver and renal failure. Those who expect they've ingested a toxic mushroom need to seek treatment immediately.
Of course, the first step to prevent poisoning by these mushrooms is learning to identify them. Death Cap is a medium-sized mushroom that features a green-gray cap, white gills, a white ring around its stem, and a large white sac at its base. It is mostly found around oak trees or other hardwoods.
Western Destroying Angel can be identified by its medium size, creamy white cap, white gills, white ring around its stem, and a thin white sac at its base. Like Death Caps, they can be found sprouting up around oak trees. These two species cause the most mushroom poisonings in the state, but they actually aren't the only ones to look out for.
Deadly amatoxins can also be found in the Galerina and Lepiota species which grow in the Bay Area as well. Galerina mushrooms are notably small, brown, and grow in clusters. Lepiota are more similar to Amanita species and are small and slender with white gills.
As the rainy season continues, it's important to be positive about identifying mushrooms before coming into contact with them. In fact, mushroom collecting isn't allowed at all in the East Bay Regional Park District. Additionally, be sure to keep a close eye on pets and children when exploring NorCal's great outdoors this winter.
Get more information about Northern California's toxic mushrooms at the East Bay Regional Park District website
Have you spotted any toxic mushrooms in the wild before? It’s definitely something to be aware of during NorCal’s wet season. Still, you shouldn’t let their appearance dissuade you from adventure this winter. Check out this list of
10 Trails In Northern California That Are Perfect For Winter Hiking for some inspiration.