poisonous polypores

Marco Floriani mflorian at SUN10.INF.UNITN.IT
Thu Oct 27 04:34:31 EST 1994


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>     Besides those ingesting MAO inhibitors and some reports of polypores
>growing on Eucalyptus being occasionally toxic, does anyone know of a
>truly poisonous polypore?
>
>     Please include any references, if possible.

>paul stamets
>po box 7634
>olympia, wa. 98507


                                       Rovereto (Italy), October 27, 1994.

Dear Paul,
   some time has passed since you asked whether someone could give you any
information about  poisonous species of Polyporus.  I'm sorry if I answer
just today, but I've discovered this Micology section on the Web just some
days ago. I think that  with the word "Polyporus"  you meant to indicate,
in a broader sense, that big group of genera which grow generally on wood
and have a porose hymenium, which where some years ago called Polyporus
s.l.. If I'm right, you could be glad to know thatthere is a species of
Albatrellus (or Scutiger, if you prefer to call it this way)  which is
strongly suspected to own some kind of toxicity; its name is Albatrellus
subrubescens (Murril) Pouzar 1972 (synonymous of Albatrellus
similis Pouzar 1966), and it is a species closely related to the very
common (or at least, very common in Europe) Albatrellus ovinus (Schaeff.
ex Fr.) Kotl. & Pouz. 1957, which is notoriously an edible species (in
Italy it is known as the "bread mushroom").
   The differences between these two species are quite relevant: A.
subrubescens owns some kind of orange hues, especially on the pores, which
A. ovinus lacks. I know that A. similis owns more often then A. ovinus
also a violaceous coloration. Finally, and this is perhaps the most
important difference between the two fungi, the spores of A. subrubescens
are amyloid, while the ones of A. ovinus are not. And you can guess if
they are also macroscopically, putting a drop of Melzer's reagent on the
pores. It is interesting to note that A. subrubescens is a species
recently discovered, even if it seems to be at least as common as A.
ovinus. Unfortunately, I can't tell you if it is common in my country, as
I never checked if the distinctly violaceus Albatrellus I found had
amyloid spores. But I'm almost sure they were A. subrubescens.
   As regards the toxicity of Albatrellus subrubescens, I can't tell you
much, as it is just a suspect species. In 1986 Breitenbach wrote that it
was an edible species, and so do other authors. But several other books
(e.g.: R. Mazza, 1994) talk about this presumed poisonous properties, even
if no mortal cases have ever verified. If you want to know something more,
please tell me, and I will look for precise information. I would be glad
if someone wanted to talk also about "wild" fungi and their
classification, and not just about their cultivation (I do not mean that
these topics are not important, howewer).

The news cited above were taken from the two most widely known (in Europe)
books on Aphyllophorales, which are:

1) W. Julich, 1984: Die Nichtblatterpilze, Gallertpilze und Bauchpilze
   Kleine Kryptogamenflora Band II Teil b/1;
2) J. Breitenbach, F. Kranzlin, 1986: Pilze der Schweiz, Band 2
   Nichtblatterpilze.

My address is:

                           Marco Floriani
                          Via Vigolana, 8
                  I - 38057 Pergine Valsugana (TN)
            Internet address: mflorian at sun10.info.unitn.it
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>     Besides those ingesting MAO inhibitors and some reports of polypores
>growing on Eucalyptus being occasionally toxic, does anyone know of a
>truly poisonous polypore?
>
>     Please include any references, if possible.

>paul stamets
>po box 7634
>olympia, wa. 98507


Rovereto (Italy), October 27, 1994.

Dear Paul,
some time has passed since you asked whether someone could give
you any information about  poisonous species of Polyporus.  I'm
sorry if I answer just today, but I've discovered this Micology
section on the Web just some days ago.
I think that  with the word "Polyporus"  you meant to indicate,
in a broader sense, that big group of genera which  grow
generally on wood and have a porose hymenium, which where some
years ago called Polyporus s.l.. If I'm right, you could be
glad to know thatthere is a species of Albatrellus (or
Scutiger, if you prefer to call it this way)  which is strongly
suspected to own some kind of toxicity; its name is Albatrellus
subrubescens (Murril) Pouzar 1972 (synonymous of Albatrellus
similis Pouzar 1966), and it is a species closely related to
the very common (or at least, very common in Europe)
Albatrellus ovinus (Schaeff. ex Fr.) Kotl. & Pouz. 1957, which
is notoriously an edible species (in Italy it is known as the
"bread mushroom").
The differences between these two species are quite relevant:
A. subrubescens owns some kind of orange hues, especially on the
pores, which A. ovinus lacks. I know that A. similis owns more
often then A. ovinus also a violaceous coloration. Finally, and
this is perhaps the most important difference between the two
fungi, the spores of A. subrubescens are amyloid, while the ones
of A. ovinus are not. And you can guess if they are also
macroscopically, putting a drop of Melzer's reagent on the
pores. It is interesting to note that A. subrubescens is a
species very recently discovered, even if it seems to be at
least as common as A. ovinus. Unfortunately, I can't tell you if
it is common in my country, as I never checked if the distinctly
violaceus Albatrellus I found had amyloid spores. But I'm almost
sure they were A. subrubescens.
As regards the toxicity of Albatrellus subrubescens, I can't
tell you much, as it is just a suspect species. In 1986
Breitenbach wrote that it was an edible species, and so do other
authors. But several other books (e.g.: R. Mazza, 1994) talk
about this presumed poisonous properties, even if no mortal
cases have ever verified. If you want to know something more,
please tell me, and I will look for precise information. I would
be glad if someone wanted to talk also about "wild" fungi and
their classification, and not just about their cultivation (I do
not mean that these topics are not important, howewer).

The news cited above were taken from the two most widely known
(in Europe) books on Aphyllophorales, which are:

1) W. Julich, 1984: Die Nichtblatterpilze, Gallertpilze und
   Bauchpilze - Kleine Kryptogamenflora Band II Teil b/1;
2) J. Breitenbach, F. Kranzlin, 1986: Pilze der Schweiz, Band 2
   Nichtblatterpilze.

My address is:

Marco Floriani
Via Vigolana, 8
I - 38057 Pergine Valsugana (TN)
Internet address: mflorian at sun10.info.unitn.it



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