What's in a name? In this case, all you need to know about this deadly toxic mushroom. As foraging gets more popular, knowing your mushrooms gets more important. Our advice, don't forage mushrooms. Why? Because of this deadly beauty. *photo credit Missouri Dept. of Conservation
The Destroying Angel, also called the Death Cap mushroom, grows in the midwestern and Eastern United States & Canada and it is fruiting right about now along with many other mushrooms. The name refers to a couple of sub species as well but all are poisonous to humans. Here's the thing, the effects aren't felt for 6-24 hours after consumption and often there is a brief reprieve where the victim feels better. That is short lived however and kidney and liver failure will cause death.
How do you identify a Destroying Angel? We're not experts so we're going to defer to The experts at the North Carolina Extension agency. You can also Google search for more specific information. Again, our advice is don't forage mushrooms. The mushroom itself if named "Angel" due to it's beautiful white cap which is smooth and often a solid white when it is maturing. When immature, its cap is sometimes folded down and it can look like a small ball, very similar to a puffball mushroom. We've included this image of an inmature mushroom we found on our forested property.
Beautiful but deadly, this mushroom is lovely to appreciate as part of the mycorrhizal network that helps support trees and plants growing in an ecosystem. Mushrooms are an indicator of healthy ecosystems. Just don't forage them.