deadly Boletus look-alike in the Sierra?

Thomas ODell odellt at
Fri Jan 31 12:03:32 EST 1997

I suspect that the press has it wrong as they so often do...
most likely Amanita ocreata ( or phalloides) is being mistaken for A. 
calyptrata (group). I am not aware of any  _deadly_ boletes (B. satanus 
may cause sever nausea, but is unlike to be mistaken for any commonly 
eaten species). 
I notice that some Center for Poison control is quoted as recommending to 
not eat _any_ wild mushrooms. This is mycophobia in action; more people 
die from eating wild plants (water hemlock in particular) than from 
mushroom poisoning, yet they never caution against eating wild plants in 
such paranoid terms.

Thom O'Dell 
Regional Mycologist
U.S. Department of Agriculture, Forest Service
Assistant Professor (Courtesy)
Department of Forest Science, Oregon State University
Forestry Sciences Laboratory 
3200 Jefferson Way  
Corvallis, Oregon 97331    U.S.A.
phone: (541) 750-7404      fax: (541) 750-7329
Email:  odellt at

On 31 Jan 1997, John S. Watson - FSC wrote:

> In the Jan. 29, 1997 Food section of the San Jose Mercury News,
> page 5f, in the article titled "Wild Mushroom Danger",
> in the next to the last paragraph it says 
>    ... And even the most experienced can be
>    foooled when it comes to identifying mushrooms 
>    from one continent to another. "Italians who
>    emigrated to the foothills of the Sierra
>    in the earlier part of this century would
>    mistake a boletus for the wronge one and die,"
>    said Alice Waters, owner of Chez Panisse 
>    restaurant in Berkeley. ...
> So I was interested in knowing what boletus,
> or look, alike these people could have been eating?
> All my mushrooms books show boletes that can 
> cause stomach aches, vomiting and diarrhea, 
> but none that can kill you.
> John
> John S. Watson
> NASA Ames Research Center

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