Just when you thought we’d never again write about anything not fire related …. along comes a news item about a mushroom poisoning.
Cortinarius speciosissimus? Seriously? What were they thinking?
Mushroom poisoning victims generally fall into one of two categories. People who mistake a poisonous mushroom for an edible species; and people who know nothing about mushrooms and just pick something that looks appetizing. In this case, neither category fits very well.
We can’t think of any choice edible mushroom that could be easily mistaken for C. speciosissimus and very few people who know anything about mushrooms would ever eat anything in the Cortinarius genus. It’s an extremely difficult genus in which to confidently identify species and the deadly poisonous nature of some Cortinarius species (like Cortinarius speciosissimus) is well known (we saw one article that said they mistook them for Chanterelles, but take another look at them – if those look like Chanterelles to you, you’d better stay out of the woods). It’s also hard to believe that someone would pick this drab, unappetizing little mushroom just because it “looked good.”
So what gives? Beats us, but we’d like to take this opportunity to remind our readers that they should never, under any circumstances, pick or eat a wild mushroom – it’s just not worth the risk (especially the Boletus edulis, Cantharellus cibarius, Tricholoma magnivelare, Morchella esculenta and Agaricus augustus growing in our favorite patches).