There are many False Death Caps, Amanita citrinum, in the woods at the moment. Their strange white bodies litter the ground, eerie and still.
There are plenty of reasons not to eat False Death Caps, but I think, for me, probably the greatest reason is death. Why would you want to chance it?
There are plenty of delicious fungi around in supermarkets. There are even a few wild ones to forage if you know an expert and have permission and follow a code.
But why would you want to eat a close relative of the Death Cap, Amanita phalloides?
The effect is to damage your liver and kidneys until you die. That’s offal. But not as offal as that joke.
Several hundred people die every year from Amanita poisoning. I don’t want my strange white body to be littering the ground, eerie and still. Not yet, I’ve got too many delicious mushrooms to taste yet.
This isn’t one of them:
It’s the aptly named Ugly Milkcap, Lactarius turpis. It grows under Birch trees on acid soils and in woodland edges. Check. Apparently the key diagnostic feature is if you drip a drop of potassium hydroxide on the cap it turns purple.
I’ve probably got potassium hydroxide somewhere in the house. It’s used for drain cleaning, paint stripping and oven cleaning. I just don’t carry it with me into the woods. I’ll just have to go on the traditional identifying features.
It oozes milk from any damage to its gills..
And it sure is ugly.