Department of Health

Poisonous mushrooms warning issued for Victoria


Victorians are being warned of the dangers of consuming wild mushrooms, as wet and cooler weather provides the ideal growing conditions for certain types of mushrooms.

Two particular wild mushroom species – Death Cap mushrooms and Yellow staining mushrooms – commonly grow in both metropolitan Melbourne and regional Victoria, and can cause gastrointestinal illness, liver failure, and death.

“We’re urging Victorians not to pick and consume wild mushrooms – doing so can have serious consequences for your health,” Victoria’s Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Clare Looker said.

“It is very difficult to distinguish between poisonous and edible wild mushrooms, so people are advised to only consume commercially bought mushrooms.”

“Rain over the Easter break has been ideal for poisonous mushroom species to sprout in regional Victoria and metropolitan Melbourne, and it is important to avoid them,” Royal Botanic Gardens Victoria research scientist Dr Camille Truong said.

Death Cap mushrooms – the most dangerous species – are typically found near oak trees in metropolitan Melbourne and rural areas. It is an exotic species that was accidentally introduced from Europe and has been found under other deciduous trees or conifers in other parts of the world. These mushrooms are large, with a pale yellow-green to olive-brown cap, white gills, a skirt around the stem and a cup-shaped sac around the base.

Symptoms of poisoning by Death Cap can include stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea within hours of consumption. Even if symptoms subside, serious organ failure can occur 24-48 hours after ingestion that may result in death.

The Yellow staining mushroom is another exotic species that is the cause of most poisonings due to ingestion of wild fungi in Victoria. This mushroom looks very similar to ‘supermarket’ or cultivated mushrooms and to edible wild mushrooms, such as the field mushroom.

In urban areas, the Yellow staining mushroom can grow in large troops in lawns and gardens. The cap and stem are white-ish to pale brown, and turn yellow when rubbing the surface with a thumbnail. It usually has an unpleasant odour. Symptoms experienced after consumption include nausea, stomach cramps, vomiting, and diarrhoea. The severity of symptoms varies with the amount eaten.

“If you suspect you may have consumed a poisonous mushroom, seek medical attention immediately. Do not wait for symptoms to appear,” Dr Looker added.

People should contact the Victorian Poisons Information Centre immediately on 13 11 26 for assistance 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

More information on mushroom poisoning is available on Better Health ChannelExternal Link .

Reviewed 12 April 2023


Was this page helpful?