California Fungi/ Funeral Bell (Galerina marginata)

Do you like picking wild mushrooms? If so, be careful not to pick a Funeral Bell, because they are almost as dangerous as the much better-known death caps (Amanita phalloides), and even contain similar toxins.

Galerina marginata (fig. 103) from BHL

Galerinas are small mushrooms with broad, almost flat cap, bearing a small central brown bump. Galerinas grow primarily in spruce and pine forests, on rotting logs and stumps. They can be found on every continent of the northern hemisphere, and have even been found in Australia. Galerinas may be mistaken for well-liked and sought-after sheathed woodtufts, which are noted for their sweet fruity smell and occurrence on deciduous wood.

Photo of Galerina marginata from EOL

This small mushroom causes very serious poisonings. The toxins it contains are not broken down by heat, and remain poisonous even after being thoroughly cooked. A fatal dose for an adult is around 10-15 mushrooms - considering how small and thin they are, that is not very much material. Poisonings have an effect similar to that of the death cap - damage to liver and kidneys. The smaller number of poisonings, compared to the death cap, is somewhat due to its relative scarcity, but largely because most pickers regard all small mushrooms growing from stumps as inedible 'toadstools'.

Galerina marginata (fig. 1) this image is under CC-BY-NC-SA of Danish Mycological Society in Europeana

Want to see other poisonous fungi? Nothing is easier than looking at our Poisonous Nature topic on BLE.

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