A Melbourne resident’s “beautiful” but “nasty” discovery in their garden has stunned locals just days after they were issued a stern warning to avoid such “poisonous” growths.
“Stay informed and keep loved ones safe,” the department pleaded on Twitter. “They look like edible mushrooms and there’s no home test to tell safe from poisonous varieties. If you are not a mushroom expert, don’t eat wild mushrooms. Shop-bought only.”
More than 100 poison control calls this year
Victorians should be on the lookout for Yellow-staining and Death Cap mushrooms — both of which are poisonous, with just one of the later able to kill an adult if consumed — Chief Health Officer Professor Brett Sutton’s health advisory warns. The mushrooms grow in the state in autumn as the weather cools off.
“Cooking, peeling or drying these mushrooms does not remove or inactivate the poison,” the department said, adding that any mushrooms seen growing in home gardens should be removed so pets and children cannot access them.
Beware of poisonous mushrooms in Victoria! Stay informed and keep loved ones safe.
They look like edible mushrooms & there's no home test to tell safe from poisonous varieties.
If you are not a mushroom expert, don’t eat wild mushrooms. Shop-bought only.https://t.co/ChRAkzZLjB pic.twitter.com/uVr0065tmy
— Victorian Department of Health (@VicGovDH) May 23, 2023
The Victorian Poisons Information Centre, who people are encouraged to contact immediately if they believe they have consumed a dangerous mushroom, told Yahoo News Australia it has received 114 calls regarding the poisonous fungi so far this year.
In the past 12 months, the VPIC has “recorded 323 cases of actual or suspected exposure to a potentially poisonous mushroom”, a spokesperson said on Wednesday. “113 of these were referred to hospital or already at a hospital at the time of the call to the VPIC.”
Social media inundated with mushroom sightings
Aussies have been posting photos of a range of species of mushrooms they’ve stumbled upon growing not only in Victoria, but South Australia, New South Wales and Queensland as well.
A Facebook page dedicated to identifying fungus growing in Australia and New Zealand has been inundated with images since the beginning of the month, some from worried pet owners after their curious dogs took a bite.
The bright red mushroom spotted by the Melbourne resident and posted on Reddit on Wednesday is an amanita muscaria — a toxic variety that are “coming up bigger, better” and “more numerous” because of the weather conditions, mycologist and director of science at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Dr Brett Summerell, told 9News last week.
“They tend to come out in larger numbers as the weather cools so I expect we’ll see a lot more,” he said, adding that he had seen photos of them in Melbourne and “quite a lot” in Canberra.
'Can be pretty nasty'
Amanita muscaria — unmistakable for its red or orange cap with flecks of white — is otherwise known as flu agaric because it was previously used by dairy farmers to kill off flies, according to an article published by the Queensland Mycological Society.
“The fungus is hallucinogenic and dangerous and should not be eaten,” it reads. Dr Summerell said that “despite the fact that you see them in nursery stories as where the fairies live, they can be pretty nasty”.
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