Chlorophyllum poisoning

Darin Burleigh burleigh at
Thu Sep 12 16:11:09 EST 1996

Stephen P. Bentivenga wrote:
> Hi Mycologists -
> with all the recent discussion of Macrolepiota rachodes and Chlorophyllum
> molybdites, I thought you would find the following story interesting.
> Sunday night a collegue came over with a mushy, frozen mushroom specimen.
> He had spent the weekend in northeastern Iowa with some friends.  The
> mushrooms were growing in the back yard in the grass near some apple trees,
> and the homeowners picked and ate a "generous portion" over steak.  They
> proceeded to spend the next many hours feeling very ill - vomiting and the
> works.  They had casually consulted a mushroom guide (I don't know which
> one), and determined the mushrooms to be edible (I assume they
> mis-identified them as Lepiota procera or Macrolepiota rachodes).
> The mushrooms were Chlorophyllum molybdites -- no doubt.  The specimens were
> quite mature and would have given a fine spore print, had it been checked.
> The two mycophagists did not go to the hospital.  Two things that saved them
> from further pain and grief:  they both are large people, and they boiled
> the mushrooms (yuck) and discarded the water before eating them.  This
> reduced the amount of toxin consumed, but obviously did not elimanate all
> traces.
> Dr. O'Dell's advice should be heeded closely: "When in doubt, throw it
> out!!!"  I have had other experiences with C. molybdites poisoning, and it
> can be ugly.  The cramping and vomiting can be so violent that you wish you
> were dead.  It can go on for hours.  Apparantly, some people can eat this
> mushroom without harm, but most people react to it.  According to data from
> the North American Mushroom Association, C. molybdites is the most common
> cause of mushroom poisoning in the United States.
> I hope the two casual mycophagists have learned their lesson.  It was
> certainly a painful one.
> - Steve Bentivenga
> ____________________________________________________________
>       ___/^,       Stephen P. Bentivenga, Ph.D.
>      ;      ^'--.    Department of Biology & Microbiology
>     :            -:    University of Wisconsin Oshkosh
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>   /                  `\    Oshkosh, WI  54901-8640
>  :                    /
>  .                   / /',
>  {                   \/ /   Phone:  414-424-7088
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>     ^\           UWO  ;   Email:  bentiven at
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ON Wisconsin!

My story is a happier one. 
I saw a patch of big white 'lepiota's growing on someone's
lawn one morning, and w/o bothering to ask, just swiped a big
cap. I thought, for sure this is a tasty lepiota! 
by the time i got home, reason got the better of me, and i put
the cap aside for a spore print. meanwhile i double checked 
my books, and came across this curious reference to the 
'green spored lepiota'. sure enough, there was a green
tinge to my print. saved.

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