"Death Angel" also known as "Destroying Angel" Poisonous Mushroom
species Amanita bisporigera, Amanita virosa, and Amanita verna
Poisonous mushrooms are not confined to deep woods, out of the way places, or exotic places. They can pop up overnight in your backyard, and if eaten, can kill a human or a dog.
Such was the case of a breeder's champion female Boston Terrier "Rory" who died in July 2001 from eating the mushroom pictured below in the owner's yard. Everything was done to save the dog to no avail. The location of the mushroom was Jackson, New Jersey (near Ocean city, N.J.) but poisonous mushrooms can be found anywhere in the U.S. It is especially common in North Carolina.
I want to give you some information on this mushroom in case you may have it in your area. There are thousands of other poisonous species, so they cannot all be listed here, however, the rule is to ALWAYS consider ANY musroom you see to be poisonous and do not let any dog near them. If you see one in areas where your dogs could go, remove them immediately. Put on a pair of disposable gloves and remove any you see breaking the stem as far down to the ground as you can - discard in the trash where no animal can get to it, throw away the gloves and wash your hands well. Mushrooms pop up overnight especially after a rain, so always make sure to walk your yard in the morning before letting dogs out!
A single specimen of any of these three mushrooms, Amanita bisporigera, Amanita virosa, and Amanita verna, can be deadly. All three species are pure white, with white gills that are free from the stalk. All have an annulus, or ring (which is the remnant of the partial veil, which protects the gills as they are developing) around the stalk. All three have a volva, or cup at the base, which is the remnant of the universal veil that surrounded the young fruiting body primordium. Like all Amanita species, they are mycorrhizal, which means they have a symbiotic (mutualistic) association with the host tree. In our part of the country the association is with oak (Quercus spp.) trees, but in other parts of the country the association may be with other hardwoods or conifers.
- Mushroom Description
- CAP white, smooth, center may become a dull tannish white with age. GILLS white, not attached to the stalk, close. STALK white, cottony to somewhat pearly, sometimes with a bulbous base; ANNULUS white, large, flaring, persistent, located at the top of the stalk; cup-like sheath (volva) at the base of the stalk, white. SPORE PRINT white.
- USA, NC
- Throughout U.S.
- Where Found
- Forest or natural area, landscape. Singly or in small groups in mixed oak-hardwood and mixed-hardwood conifer forests.
- Poisonous Part
- Symptoms may occur 6-24 hours after eating and include severe abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea which may persist 6-9 hours. Initial symptoms are frequently followed by a lag period up to 24 hours. During this symptomless period toxins are severely affecting the liver resulting in gastrointestinal bleeding, coma, kidney failure and death usually within 7 days after eating.
- NOT EDIBLE!
- Amanita bisporigera (Death Angel) is a 2-spored, smaller species than A. virosa. Both are deadly poisonous. The lag period following initial symptoms is especially dangerous as the patient is lulled into a false sense of security.
- HIGHLY TOXIC, FATAL IF EATEN!