Death cap mushrooms found in Oak Bay

Residents should avoid contact with potentially fatal fungus

A potentially fatal mushroom grows in Oak Bay.

Natural Resources Canada confirmed the fungus Amanita phalloides, known as the death cap mushroom, was found in Uplands on a boulevard on Ripon Road Sunday.

Mycologist Brenda Callan received an email from colleagues Adolf and Oluna Ceska earlier this week, identifying the deadly mushroom.

“They saw a moderate flush of them … a good size number of them,” she said. “They didn’t have to go hunting high and low for them, they saw them right away.”

The mushrooms, which usually grow in urban areas in Victoria and were first introduced on the root systems of non-native trees, tend to spring up around fall following the first set of rains. However, the mushrooms have sprung up earlier this year, likely because they were in an area that was well irrigated, Callan noted.

“I expect the area was well irrigated and that encouraged them to pop up early,” she said.

Experts say residents should avoid the fungus, which looks similar to a puffball mushroom when first pushing through the ground.

In October last year, a three-year-old Victoria boy died after eating the same kind of mushroom. It was the first recorded death from a death cap mushroom in the province.

Symptoms of ingesting the toxic mushroom include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, low blood pressure, liver and kidney failure and possibly death. Symptom usually appears between six and 24 hours after consumption.

Anyone who believes they’ve consumed a poisonous mushroom is urged to call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre at 1-800-567-8911 or call 911.

Tips to stay safe while mushroom hunting:

• If you are unsure or uncertain, don’t eat it;

• Only pick and eat mushrooms that are well known, distinct and easily identifiable;

• Dig up the entire mushroom if uncertain, to help in its identification;

• Eat small amounts;

• If you suspect you’ve consumed a poisonous mushroom, call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre at 1-800-567-8911 or 604-682-5050, and seek medical attention, or call 911. In both cases, keep a sample of the mushroom or food that was eaten.

editor@oakbaynews.com

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