Deadly

Here’s a fungus you should learn to identify if you’re interested in foraging and eating wild fungi. It’s the Deadly Webcap, Cortinarius rubellus.

Deadly Webcap - Cortinarius rubellus - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

That’s not because it’s delicious. It causes irreversible kidney damage to humans because of the poison orellanine. It only takes a mouthful or two and they’ll be searching for a suitable tissue match for you in a couple of weeks.

Deadly Webcap - Cortinarius rubellus - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Orellanine is similar in its chemistry to the powerful herbicide paraquat. Eating Deadly Webcaps is like drinking weedkiller.

Deadly Webcap - Cortinarius rubellus - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Take care out there.

Here’s the first mention of Cortinarius rubellus, in Mordecai Cubitt Cooke’s Grevillea from 1887.

Deadly Webcap - Cortinarius rubellus - Mordecai Cubitt Cooke

I love a bit of fungal history.

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