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'Shrooms

These Green-Spored Lepiota mushrooms were spotted along Route 148 north of Herrin. According to "Edible Wild Mushrooms of Illinois" by Joe McFarland and Gregory M. Mueller, these mushrooms are not edible. In fact according to this guidebook, "No other mushroom in America causes more poisonings than the Green-Spored Lepiota."

The Southern File Photo

The Illinois Poison Center has issued a warning about the dangers of eating fall mushrooms popping up in Illinois.

"The Illinois Poison Center receives hundreds of calls each year about mushrooms found in lawns and neighborhood parks," Michael Wahl, MD, the IPC’s medical director, said in the release. “Adults, and especially children, need to learn about the health risks of eating wild mushrooms and what to do if they are ingested.”

The agency warns that mushroom identification is extremely difficult, and that people should avoid eating any wild mushrooms.

There are many types of toxic mushrooms in Illinois. Mushrooms that contain the gastrointestinal irritant amatoxin are among the most dangerous, because symptoms may not appear until six to 24 hours after ingestion, IPC said.

Illinois mushrooms that contain amatoxin include Amanita bisporigera, which has a white cap, stem and gills, and a distinct cup of tissue at the base of its stem; and Galerina marginata, a small brown-orange fungus that looks similar to the edible honey mushroom.

The IPC points out that other wild mushrooms that do not contain amatoxin can still cause gastrointestinal distress and serious illness. Some of the common culprits in Illinois include Cholophyllum molybdites, which has olive green gills and oatmeal-like patches on its cap; and Omphalotus illudens, which is commonly mistaken for edible chanterelles and is also known as “the Jack-O’-Lantern mushroom” for its bright orange color.

More information is available at the IPC’s website, illinoispoisoncenter.org.

janis.esch@thesouthern.com

618-351-5082

On Twitter: @janis_eschSI

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Reporter

Janis Esch is a reporter covering higher education.

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