• There is no difference between mushrooms and toadstools, except people tend to call edible fungi ‘mushrooms’ and poisonous or toxic ones ‘toadstools’.
  • When picking fungi, ideally use a knife to harvest so you leave the mycelium (roots) behind so it can keep producing more fungi.
  • Fungi species need to be kept separate from each other in case there is a toxic one in the batch. Fungi can contaminate other fungi.
  • There are no rules of thumb that tell you whether a fungus is safe or not, so for example you can’t tell if a fungus is safe or not by its gill colour.
  • Only eat fungi when you are 100% sure what it is – consult a good guide, ask an expert, be certain and be safe.

Identify a fungus by looking at all of the below…

  • Where it is growing – field, specific tree species, dead wood, etc?
  • What time of year you find it?
  • Does it have a smell?
  • What colour is it?
  • Does it have a volva (egg shaped sac from which the stem grows)?
  • What do the gills look like?
  • Spore print?
  • Cap size?
  • Does it bruise when cut or pressed?
  • Does it have a ring on the stem?

Once you have checked through all of these and it points at one specific edible fungus, then try it in small quantities as you may be allergic to it.

Poisonous fungi – TO BE AVOIDED

  • Death Cap – Amanita phalloides
  • Destroying Angel – Amanita virosa
  • Webcaps – Cortinarius sp.
  • Panther Cap – Amanita pantherina
  • Fly Agaric – Amanita muscaria*
  • False Morel – Gyromitra esculenta
  • Fool’s Funnel – Clitocybe rivulosa
  • Devil’s Bolete – Boletus satanus
  • Yellow Stainer – Agaricus xanthodermus
  • Jack O’ Lantern – Omphalatus olearius
  • Sulphur Tuft – Hypholoma fasciculare