You Call That a Mushroom? This is a Mushroom!

I expect we are all familiar with the line from Crocodile Dundee which goes “You call that a knife? This is a knife!”

Ever since then, people have been copying that quote, but sometimes changing the word knife for whatever it is that they’re talking about.

Today, it’s my turn to do that.

You Call That a Mushroom? This is a Mushroom!

Mushrooms

Mushrooms

Mushroom - top

Mushroom and my right foot

Mushroom - side view

Mushroom - side view

I found these mushrooms growing wild in a field close to me just last month. As you can see, the biggie is almost the size of my foot.

Mushroom dangers.

Here in Australia, as in many countries around the world, it’s not a good idea to pick wild mushrooms to take home and cook, unless you know what you are doing. Unfortunately, the only people who really know what they are doing are mushroom experts, or “mycologists”.

I was reminded of this at the beginning of the year when an experienced Chinese chef and his assistant died after cooking and eating death cap mushrooms, mistaking them for edible straw mushrooms.

These are death cap mushrooms, scientific name Amanita phalloides…

Death Cap Mushrooms

Death Cap Mushrooms

Source: Wikipedia

Now, even though the death cap mushroom above looks nothing like the picture of my massive mushrooms, I still refrained from picking those big beauties, even though they would probably have provided us with mushroom soup for a fortnight.

Too risky!

When it comes to mushrooms, your local fruit and veg store is the safest bet. But death cap mushrooms are today’s Australia’s Bad Things.

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{ 14 comments… add one }
  • Duncan August 10, 2015, 11:00 pm | Link

    Looks like a gold top or magic mushy. Hard to tell from a pic. Don’t eat unless you like hallucinations.

    • BobinOz August 11, 2015, 9:09 pm | Link

      @Tom Kent – silly me, I never reread articles before answering comments, just realised this article was actually about that chef and those death cap mushrooms.

      @Duncan – if you’re talking about the top picture, they are way too big to be magic mushrooms. Unless Australia magic mushrooms are different from UK magic mushrooms. If you’re talking about the second picture, don’t eat unless you like dying.

  • Tom Kent August 10, 2015, 1:54 pm | Link

    Yes, after further research online, you do not find the Destroying Angel in Australia. What you have there is a parasol mushroom, Macrolepiota dolichaula, eaten in China and, as I can attest from personal experience, delicious. Parasol mushrooms of related spp are enjoyed worldwide. You will find them growing in paddocks. often on cow pats and they are quite common in northern NSW and QLD.

    Please note that even safe mushrooms can cause upset stomach in some people as mushrooms have a lot of stuff in them. And for god’s sake don’t believe anything you read by some idiot who posts comments to blogs! I mean me. Check in a reputable source.

    • BobinOz August 10, 2015, 10:00 pm | Link

      Ah, yes, just read your second comment. I think we may be talking about the same mushrooms, the ones I mention above were eaten in China as well.

  • Thomas Kent August 10, 2015, 1:33 pm | Link

    Those big mushrooms are yummy. All the same, I wouldn’t recommend that anyone goes eating any wild mushrooms they find unless they are really, really sure about the identification. I got books out of the library and studied them really, really carefully before frying them up. I am not aware that the destroying angel mushroom Amanita bisporigera occurs in Australia. Those do look like descriptions of the destroying angel, but pictures look different . Amanitas are enclosed in a sac when immature, so if you can find immature ones you can look for that. Please note that I am no sort of expert.

    There is no association between gill colour and toxicity and also, never ever eat Little Brown Mushrooms (LBMS).

    • BobinOz August 10, 2015, 9:59 pm | Link

      Yes, I would recommend caution as well. A very experienced chef died in Canberra early in 2012 when he didn’t realise he had picked some poisonous mushrooms; they were described as ‘death cap mushrooms’.

      If I haven’t bought them in a fruit and veg shop, I ain’t eating them!

  • Sharon June 9, 2012, 12:56 pm | Link

    That looks like a death angel you have in your first pictures there, Bob. There are the distinctive white gills underneath, and the fringe on the stem hanging down. My Nana taught me never to touch any mushroom with white gills when we learned to hunt up field mushrooms. There are far more poisonous mushies and toadstools out there than edible ones, it seems. Also the stems on those look like toadstools to me anyway!.

    • BobinOz June 12, 2012, 12:43 pm | Link

      Well, it certainly doesn’t look like the kind mushroom you’d want to eat. Anyway, I Googled Death Angel and looked at some images, you could well be right.

      Death Angel is another mushroom in the Amanita family, same as the Death Cap, although, according to Wikipedia, it’s only found on the West Coast of America. Maybe we get them here now?

  • goldfishtoyshop.com.au March 14, 2012, 8:27 pm | Link

    I remember picking the wild mushrooms couple of years ago. I had a bunch of it. When I came home, a friend told me they are all poisonous. I threw them away…

  • Kym February 29, 2012, 7:17 am | Link

    Bob, it doesn’t look like any edible kind of mushroom, just as that you left it well alone. There was another family tragedy due to misidentified mushrooms recently….I can’t remember the details now but there was quite a few involved. Have fun!

    • BobinOz February 29, 2012, 10:47 pm | Link

      I thought it looked kind of weird too, just one nibble and I may have met The White Rabbit.

      Or worse…

      For my money, all wild mushrooms are best left alone.

  • Gerry @ YourLawnAndGarden February 28, 2012, 6:58 am | Link

    Hey Bob, hear about the bloke in the swimming pool with no arms and no legs? His name’s Bob!

    • BobinOz February 28, 2012, 9:24 pm | Link

      Yes, I did hear about that bloke, about 40 years ago I think.

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