Death cap mushrooms sprouting early in Canberra this year

Acting ACT Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Miranda Harris has warned Canberrans not to eat or pick any wild mushrooms.

Dr Harris said Death Cap mushrooms are sprouting early this year, most likely due to wet weather and milder summer temperatures.

“We would normally not expect to see Death Cap mushrooms in the ACT until March or April, but an early growing season is not unheard of,” Dr Harris said.

“As the name suggests, Death cap mushrooms can be deadly.”

“All parts of the mushroom are poisonous and cooking them does not make them safe to eat.”

Death cap mushrooms are known to grow in the ACT. While they often grow near established oak trees, they can be found where no oak trees are evident.

Death Caps are easily mistaken for edible mushrooms.

Dr Harris warned the community not to touch the wild mushrooms with bare hands and to keep children and animals away from them.

“If you think you may have eaten a Death Cap mushroom, urgently seek medical attention at a hospital emergency department and take any remaining mushroom to the hospital for identification,” she said.

“Symptoms of poisoning generally occur 6-24 hours or more after eating mushrooms, and include pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea.

“The chances of survival increase if treatment is started early.”

The ACT has seen four deaths and a number of poisonings associated with Death Cap mushrooms since 2002.

Anyone who sees a wild mushroom in a public area, can report it to Access Canberra on 13 22 81.

Dr Harris urges Canberrans to purchase all mushrooms from a reputable supplier.

For more information about the Death Cap mushroom visit: https://www.health.act.gov.au/about-our-health-system/population-health/fact-sheets

Page last updated on: 7 Jan 2021