miked's picture

If you are thinking of eating wild mushrooms

If you are thinking of collecting and eating wild mushrooms then make sure you are certain of the identification.
Death caps are not particuarly common in UK but neither are they rare so if you go out looking for mushrooms there is a fair chance you will eventually come across them. There are a small number of other very poisonous species some of which also resemble edible species.
Many people across the world collect wild mushrooms without any problems but most have a background of tradition and teaching from local experts or books.



Fenwickfield's picture


I personally do not and would not eat any fungi I find unless there from a supermarket or ones cultivated from packets of spores bought from seed catalogues.I know in some countries they have experts who check what is for sale in local market's to make sure there edible.I think you have to have had many years of experience or training to make it safe,or family knowledge passed down as it is in some countries.As you have said this is true in quite a few countries but I have no knowledge of this happening here as it probably did in medieval times but I think our knowledge has been lost over time.


Martincito's picture

I've eaten a few in the past,

I've eaten a few in the past, but since starting to try to identify them seriously I realise just how hard it is to be sure and now wouldn't think of it. I saw some Oyster Mushrooms in a local shop yesterday and regarded them with extreme suspicion. I didn't even bother to ask the shop keeper what size spores they had :-)

I did think of sprinkling the spores from cultivated mushrooms around the garden however. Would that work?

Fenwickfield's picture


If you want to grow your own it is easy I use large plastic boxes fill with horse muck cover top with layer of compost water sprinkle packet of spore on bought from garden centre and within a month you have the shop type mushroom. I have picked for about 2 month before they have stopped producing and spore costs about £2.50.There are other's types you can buy like oyster which come in plug form and all you do is drill some holes in a log,insert the plug,leave outside in garden and within about 2-3 weeks you have Oyster mushrooms and you know there safe.There are also sold with more choice through Sutton's seed catalogue.
Good luck


Martincito's picture


Thanks Sheila, Come to think of it I do recall being given a mushroom kit many years ago, though I don't remember it producing anything apart from a tub of rather mouldy compost. Time to have another go, I think. If anything grows it will also get the iSpot treatment - I may even get to admire its basidia!

Fenwickfield's picture

Need to

The horse muck can be got from stables or if you know of any city farms they normally give it away and one fertilizer,rubble sac will do for two batches in the container (I use the old council recycling boxes just put a few holes in the bottom )try to put and leave the horse muck in for 3 weeks as it heat's up before you put the spores on as this is were people go wrong they put the spores straight on.I will keep an eye out for your results on iSpot.



Refugee's picture

Easy ones

This year i have started looking at some of the common ones. Some are fairly easy but there are one or two nasty ones that look like common field mushrooms. A good kit of images from several websites stored on a big camera stick that can be viewed on the camera is a fairly good bet while not taking up any more room when you are out. Take an extra battery though.
Some poisonous ones are consumed deliberately as a legal high. Liberty Cap and Fly Agaric come to mind here. They would kill themselves here if they found one of our dinner plate sized giant Fly Agarics that grow in the birch scrub on the old coal slag heaps.
Good luck!


Sarah West's picture

Consumption of Liberty Cap

Consumption of Liberty Cap NOT legal! It's a class A drug http://homeoffice.gov.uk/drugs/drug-law/

Sarah West
OPAL Community Scientist
Yorkshire and Humber

miked's picture

Not only consumption illegal

Not only consumption illegal but also possession so some people with fungal herbarium specimens or collecting on forays could potentially be in trouble. I seem to recall there was a lot of discussion about this among mycologists when the law was changed.

miked's picture

Always wise to keep an eye

Always wise to keep an eye even on ones from supermarkets. When my local supermarket started selling 'wild mushrooms' quite a few years ago now the ones they had on sale were certainly not what the label said they were. when i pointed this out to them they just said get lost, they did not want to know the things on their veg rack were not chanterelles. The things they were selling were not poisonous but probably cheaper to get hold of than proper chanterelles. More recently they have got their labeling correct but always have a close look wherever you get them.