‘Cartoony’ mushrooms popping up across Vancouver Island are poisonous

‘Cartoony’ mushrooms popping up across Vancouver Island are poisonous

Fly Agaric mushrooms can cause hallucinations and gastrointestinal pain

An influx of cute and familiar mushrooms on Vancouver Island comes with a warning.

Fly Agaric mushrooms, also known as Amanita muscaria are the classic red toadstool with white warts seen in cartoons. The species grows in borreal forests during the fall across Canada and the United States, and are very common, but very poisonous.

“The Amanita family contains some of the most deadly mushrooms we know of,” said Brian Starzomski, director of the School of Environmental Studies at the University of Victoria. Starzomski added some of the Fly Agaric’s relatives include Amanita phalloides, better known as the Death Cap mushroom, and Aminita ocreata, the Destroying Angel.

READ MORE: Island Health issues warning after death cap mushrooms found in Greater Victoria

While Fly Agarics aren’t always deadly, they can have devastating affects on people and pets, including hallucinations, sleepiness and severe gastrointestinal problems.

Surprisingly, unlike on TV the white warts on the mushrooms are not attached and can move around if prompted, which can be especially dangerous after a heavy rain could wash them off.

ALSO READ: Second puppy killed by poisonous mushrooms in Victoria

“Another edible species looks quite similar, especially when the warts are gone,” he said.

If seen, Starzomski said to avoid removing them unless they’re a direct danger to your pet or child, as they have a short life cycle and are an important part of the ecosystem.

Most importantly of all, he said, if you don’t know what a mushroom is, don’t touch it.

“There are so many species of mushrooms, and many of them are poisonous,” he said. “Always ask an expert when you’re not 100 per cent sure.”

nicole.crescenzi@vicnews.com

Like us on Facebook Send a Tweet to @NicoleCrescenzi
and follow us on Instagram

NatureUVic

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

A cougar was spotted at Royal Roads University on Sunday, Jan. 24. The sighting was reported on the western edge of the campus. (File photo)
Cougar spotted at Royal Roads University Sunday afternoon

Animal reported on western side of campus near Langford Fire Department

Frank Bourree was awarded the Greater Victoria Chamber of Commerce’s first Governors’ Award of Distinction for his leadership in the business community. (Courtesy of Frank Bourree)
Frank Bourree receives award of distinction from Victoria chamber

Award recognizes positive role model in business community

The Habitat for Humanity Meaning of Home contest is open to students in Grades 5 to 6. (Screenshot/Habitat for Humanity video)
Habitat for Humanity launches national writing contest

Entries accepted from students in Grades 4 to 6 until Feb. 19

Colwood Fire Rescue is reminding the public to only burn dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces after heavy smoke filled the intersection of Sooke Road and Acacia Drive when a homeowner tried burning a plastic item on Sunday, Jan. 24. (Emily Jessop photo)
Colwood homeowner burns plastic in fireplace, causes emergency response

Colwood Fire Rescue says burn dry, seasoned wood in fireplaces only

A rolled-over car was spotted in a ditch along Sooke Road near the border of Langford on the morning of Sunday, Jan. 24. (Black Press Media photo)
Car ends up in ditch along Sooke Road Sunday morning

Single vehicle spotted rolled-over just after 10 a.m. on Jan. 24

U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders sits in on a COVID-19 briefing with Dr. Bonnie Henry, provincial health officer, and Adrian Dix, B.C. minister of health. (Birinder Narang/Twitter)
PHOTOS: Bernie Sanders visits B.C. landmarks through the magic of photo editing

Residents jump on viral trend of photoshopping U.S. senator into images

Wet’suwet’en supporters and Coastal GasLink opponents continue to protest outside the B.C. Legislature in Victoria, B.C., on Thursday, February 27, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
‘We’re still in it’: Wet’suwet’en push forward on rights recognition

The 670-km Coastal GasLink pipeline was approved by B.C. and 20 elected First Nations councils on its path

The sky above Mt. Benson in Nanaimo is illuminated by flares as search and rescuers help an injured hiker down the mountain to a waiting ambulance. (Photo courtesy Nanaimo Search and Rescue)
Search plane lights up Nanaimo mountain with flares during icy rope rescue

Rescuers got injured hiker down Mt. Benson to a waiting ambulance Saturday night

Jennifer Cochrane, a Public Health Nurse with Prairie Mountain Health in Virden, administers the COVID-19 vaccine to Robert Farquhar with Westman Regional Laboratory, during the first day of immunizations at the Brandon COVID-19 vaccination supersite in Brandon, Man., on Monday, January 18, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tim Smith - POOL
Top doctor urges Canadians to keep up with COVID measures, even as vaccines roll out

More than 776,606 vaccines have been administered so far

From the left: Midway RCMP Csts. Jonathan Stermscheg and Chris Hansen, Public Servant Leanne Mclaren and Cpl. Phil Peters. Pictured in the front are Mclaren’s dog, Lincoln and Peters’ dog, Angel. Photo courtesy of BC RCMP
B.C. Mounties commended for bringing firewood to elderly woman

Cpl. Phil Peters said he and detachment members acted after the woman’s husband went to hospital

Dr. Jerome Leis and Dr. Lynfa Stroud are pictured at Sunnybrook Hospital in Toronto on Thursday, January 21, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Frank Gunn
‘It wasn’t called COVID at the time:’ One year since Canada’s first COVID-19 case

The 56-year-old man was admitted to Toronto’s Sunnybrook Health Sciences Centre

An Uber driver’s vehicle is seen after the company launched service, in Vancouver, Friday, Jan. 24, 2020. Several taxi companies have lost a court bid to run Uber and Lyft off the road in British Columbia. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Taxi companies lose court bid to quash Uber, Lyft approvals in British Columbia

Uber said in a statement that the ruling of the justice is clear and speaks for itself

Nanaimo Regional General Hospital. (News Bulletin file photo)
COVID-19 outbreak declared at Nanaimo hospital

Two staff members and one patient have tested positive, all on the same floor

A long-term care worker receives the Pfizer vaccine at a clinic in Nanaimo earlier this month. (Island Health photo)
All Island seniors in long-term care will be vaccinated by the end of this weekend

Immunization of high-risk population will continue over the next two months

Most Read