Sunday, September 02, 2012

Amanita phalloides/Death Cap/ Grøn Fluesvamp

Amanita phalloides, stig bachmann nielsen,

Amanita phalloides/ Death Cap ( Danish: Grøn fluesvamp) 
The most poisonous fungus in the Danish flora.

Characteristics:  Please read also the specified description of Amaniata phalloides at wikipedia, which also tells you about the various habitats of the fungus.

Short Description: Amanita phalloides, the Death Cap (Danish: Grøn Fluesvamp) is Danmark's most common and  most poisonous fluesvamp *. It grows in deciduous forests in a good soil, often below beech and oak. The cap is egg-shaped while the mushroom is young, later half round and at last spread and 6-12 cm broad. The outer holster stays back as a sheath at the swollen base of the 10-12 cm long stem. The colour of the cap varies from pale-yellow to olive-green, blue-green or grey-brown. The lamellas are white or yellow-white, the smell is sweet, honey-like,  in old fungis the smell is unpleasant.

It's now September. This is the time of the autumn and the time of gathering edible mushrooms. There are so many various types of mushrooms in the forest, some are edible and delicious, like the chanterelles and the champignons, others are poisonous or deadly poisonous like the Amanitas. It can be a risky business to be a mushroom hunter. Each year mushroom pickers confuse edible mushrooms with their poisonous relatives, and the Amanita phalloides, The Death Cap,  is highest in these statistics.

young Death Cap (Google)
Death Cap (Google)
But the air is cooler, the sky is clear and blue, the soil in the forest has this special scent of autumn - and now it's time for a lovely day in the September forest. People bring their mushroom-books, but this is not always enough. Even the experienced musthroom gatherers may be in doubt from time to time. And the unexperienced are often in uncharted territory. The poisonous Amanita virosa, called the European Destroying Angel, looks like young specimens of champignons, and the Amanita phalloides, the Death Cap, which is even more poisonous, looks like the edible Volvariella volvacea, called Paddy Straw mushroom, from the Asian kitchen, and the confusion between those two mushrooms has lead to fatal intoxications, also in Denmark. The Death Cap does not grow in Southeast Asia. Fatal intoxications have occurred because people with traditions from Southeast Asia have gathered the Death Cap here, believing it was the edible Paddy Straw mushroom from their homeland.

The most sold edible mushroom in Thailand is the Volvariella volvacea, the Paddy Straw mushroom, which looks like the Death Cap in the Danish forests - so it is necessary to be utmost cautious when you are gathering mushrooms in Denmark if you come from Southeast Asia. .

* fluesvamp: flue = fly. The Danish peasants used in the old times a porridge made from fluesvamp to smear on the walls of the stable in order to kill the flies.

Source: Biokemisk Forening, Danmarks fugle og natur, Felthåndbogen.


Teresa Evangeline said...

I somehow missed this post. I love reading about mushrooms and you've so accurately described this time of year. The smell of the earth is distinctive, isn't it?

I am so cautious, but am thinking of finding someone who is more familiar who might actually go with me and show me what is edible. Even then, it seems like risky business. But, those that are edible are sooo good.

Thyra said...

Hej Teresa. I find it so difficult to gather the edible mushrooms. I'm sure of the chanterelles and the Karl Johan, but I will not risk anything. I'm a terrible sissy when it comes to that!! I don't even trust an expert. ´)

What is so scary is that a mushroom can be edible in one country and deadly poisonous in another. That's why I wrote the post - and I also wrote a post in my Danish blog, for I think it is so tragic that people come here from Thailand and don't know about it. Maybe only one sees my blog, but that's okay. In Australia where they have many immigrants from Asia, they put up warning signs where the Death Cap grows. On the other hand you cannot keep an eye on everyone. It is difficult to find the balance, isn't it, because you must not control people or be too over-protecting!

Have a nice day!
Hej Buddy! Wruff, wruff!

Grethe ´)