Florida Poisonous Mushrooms: Top 10

Key Takeaways

  • False Morel, Liberty Cap, Fly Agaric, Banded Mottlegill, Haymaker, Jack O Lantern, Destroying Angel, Galerina, False Parasol, and Deadly Webcap mushrooms are some of the most poisonous mushrooms in Florida.
  • Ingestion of these mushrooms can cause severe illness, liver and kidney damage, and even death.
  • Proper identification of mushrooms by a mycologist or expert foraging guide is crucial before consuming them, and only consume mushrooms that have been positively identified as safe by an expert.
  • Avoid foraging in areas where poisonous mushrooms are known to grow and always cook mushrooms thoroughly before consuming.


This article is intended to be for entertainment purposes only. These mushrooms are poisonous to humans and animals.

Do not use this as a guide to forage mushrooms. Do not use this as a guide to prepare, cook, and eat mushrooms.

You should work with your local mycological society, foraging experts, and local community clubs for identifying, foraging, and potentially eating mushrooms.

In addition, you should never forage mushrooms on your own or use this guide to assist you in foraging mushrooms.

1. False Morel Mushroom (Gyromitra esculenta)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

Beware of the False Morel Mushroom, it may look like a scrumptious brain, but it’s actually a ticking time bomb for your health.

This mushroom is commonly found in Florida during the spring and summer months and can be easily mistaken for the edible morel mushroom.

However, the False Morel contains a toxic compound called gyromitrin that can cause severe illness or even death if ingested.

Despite its toxicity, the False Morel has been used in culinary dishes in some parts of Europe and Asia.

Consumption of this mushroom should be avoided due to its potential health risks.

Symptoms of gyromitrin poisoning include headaches, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and even liver failure.

To stay safe while foraging for mushrooms, it’s important to know the geographic distribution of the False Morel, as well as its lookalike mushrooms.

Always remember to properly identify any mushroom before consuming it, and consult with a mycologist or expert foraging guide if you’re unsure.

[Related Article: 8 Common Mushrooms In Florida]

2. Liberty Cap Mushroom (Psilocybe semilanceata)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

You’ll be fascinated to know that the Liberty Cap Mushroom, also known as Psilocybe semilanceata, is a powerful psychoactive mushroom that has been used for centuries in spiritual and cultural practices.

This mushroom contains psilocybin, a compound that can cause hallucinations, altered perceptions, and changes in mood.

The Liberty Cap Mushroom is native to Europe, but it can also be found in North America, including Florida.

Here are some potential discussion ideas about the Liberty Cap Mushroom:

  • Health benefits: Some studies suggest that psilocybin may have therapeutic benefits for mental health conditions such as depression, anxiety, and addiction. However, more research is needed to fully understand the potential benefits and risks of using this substance for medical purposes.
  • Cultural significance: The Liberty Cap Mushroom has been used in spiritual and cultural practices for centuries, particularly in indigenous cultures. It is often associated with mystical experiences and spiritual awakening.
  • Legal status: In Florida, psilocybin mushrooms are classified as a Schedule I controlled substance, meaning they are illegal to possess, sell, or use. However, there is a growing movement to decriminalize or legalize psilocybin for medical or recreational use.
  • Growing and harvesting techniques: The Liberty Cap Mushroom can be grown indoors or outdoors, but it requires specific conditions and techniques to thrive. Harvesting wild mushrooms can be dangerous, as there are many poisonous lookalikes.
  • Potential dangers and side effects: While psilocybin is generally considered safe, it can cause adverse reactions in some people, such as anxiety, paranoia, and psychosis. It’s important to use caution and start with a low dose when consuming psilocybin mushrooms.

3. Fly Agaric Mushrooms (Amanita muscaria)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

Oh boy, have you heard of the trippy Fly Agaric Mushroom and its mind-bending effects?

This mushroom is widely known for its psychoactive properties and has been used for centuries in shamanic practices.

The Fly Agaric Mushroom is easily recognizable by its bright red cap with white spots, which makes it stand out from other mushrooms in the wild.

Although the Fly Agaric Mushroom is known for its psychoactive effects, it’s important to note that it’s also highly toxic.

The psychoactive compounds in this mushroom, muscimol and ibotenic acid, can cause hallucinations, delirium, and in some cases, seizures. Ingesting this mushroom can also cause nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Despite its traditional use in shamanic practices, the Fly Agaric Mushroom isn’t recommended for recreational or medicinal use due to its toxicity.

However, research is being conducted on the potential medical uses of its psychoactive compounds.

If you come across this mushroom in the wild, it’s best to admire it from a distance and avoid any contact with it.

4. Banded Mottelgill (Panaeolina foenisecii)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

The Banded Mottlegill mushroom, commonly found in grassy areas, may surprise you with its subtle appearance but it packs a punch with its psychoactive properties.

This mushroom is small, brown, and has a cap that ranges from 1-3 cm in diameter.

Its gills are a pale brown color and its stem is thin and fragile.

Identification tips for the Banded Mottlegill include looking for its small size, brown color, and delicate stem.

However, it’s important to note that while this mushroom may have psychoactive properties, it is also toxic and can cause symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea.

Despite its toxicity, there are some medicinal properties associated with this mushroom, such as its ability to help with anxiety and depression.

However, it is recommended to not consume this mushroom due to its toxicity and lack of culinary uses.

5. Haymaker Mushroom (Panaeolus foenisecii)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

If you’re searching for a psychedelic fungus, the Haymaker Mushroom might just be what you need.

This species is commonly found in Florida and is known for its hallucinogenic properties.

Here are some characteristics, habitat preferences, poisoning symptoms, treatment options, and precautionary measures associated with this mushroom:

  1. Characteristics: The Haymaker Mushroom has a bell-shaped cap that is brownish in color and measures up to 3 cm in diameter. The stem is white and can grow up to 10 cm in length. The spores are black and are released from the gills, which are initially white but turn black as the mushroom matures.
  2. Habitat Preferences: This species prefers to grow in grassy areas, especially those that have been recently fertilized. It can also be found in lawns, pastures, and meadows.
  3. Poisoning Symptoms: Ingesting this mushroom can cause nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and dehydration. It can also lead to hallucinations, altered perception, and mood swings.
  4. Treatment Options and Precautionary Measures: If you suspect that you have ingested this mushroom, seek medical attention immediately. There’s no specific antidote for poisoning from the Haymaker Mushroom, so treatment is mainly supportive. To avoid poisoning, don’t eat any wild mushrooms that you aren’t absolutely sure are safe to consume.

6. Jack O Lantern Mushroom (Omphalotus olearius)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

The Jack O Lantern Mushroom, also known as Omphalotus olearius, can be easily mistaken for an edible mushroom due to its bright orange color and gilled cap, but it’s actually highly toxic and can cause severe gastrointestinal distress.

The gills of this mushroom are a pale yellow and have a distinctive wavy edge.

The stem is also orange and typically curves, with a partial veil that forms a ring around the stem.

Identification tips for the Jack O Lantern Mushroom include its bright orange color, gilled cap, and wavy gills.

It can often be found growing on decaying hardwoods in the late summer and fall, and prefers moist environments.

While it’s not safe for consumption, it does have potential medicinal properties, including antitumor and antibacterial effects.

However, it’s important to note that these potential benefits haven’t been extensively researched, and consuming this mushroom can be dangerous.

7. Destroying Angel Mushroom (Amanita virosa)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

Beware of the deadly Destroying Angel Mushroom, with its pure white cap and stem that resemble a delicate white flower, but can lead to severe liver and kidney damage if ingested.

Identification techniques include examining the cap, which can range from 5-15 cm wide and is usually convex with a smooth margin.

The gills are white, crowded, and free from the stem, while the stem is 5-15 cm tall and 1-2 cm in diameter, with a ring near the top that can be easily removed.

Toxicity symptoms of the Destroying Angel Mushroom can take up to 12 hours to appear, and include nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, abdominal pain, and dehydration.

As the toxin progresses, it can lead to liver and kidney damage, with symptoms such as jaundice, dark urine, and decreased urine output.

Habitat preferences for this deadly mushroom include deciduous and coniferous forests, and they are commonly found in the eastern and southern United States.

Common misconceptions about the Destroying Angel Mushroom include that it is safe to eat if cooked, or that only a small amount can cause harm.

However, even a small amount can cause severe toxicity.

Prevention measures include avoiding consumption of any wild mushrooms unless they have been identified by an expert, and always cooking mushrooms thoroughly before consuming.

Remember, the Destroying Angel Mushroom may look delicate and beautiful, but it’s one of the most poisonous mushrooms in Florida.

8. Deadly Galerina Mushroom (Galerina marginata)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

Watch out for this deadly mushroom, the Galerina. It can cause severe liver damage and even death if ingested.

The Galerina mushroom is small, ranging from 1 to 5 centimeters in diameter, with a bell-shaped cap that’s usually light brown in color.

It has a distinctive ring on the stem and a rusty brown spore print.

Toxicity symptoms of the Galerina mushroom include nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, diarrhea, and jaundice. Symptoms may not appear until several hours after ingestion and can last for several days.

If you suspect you have ingested a Galerina mushroom, seek medical attention immediately.

There is no specific antidote for Galerina poisoning, and treatment typically involves supportive care such as intravenous fluids and medication to manage symptoms.

If you’re foraging for mushrooms, it’s important to be able to identify the Galerina mushroom and avoid it.

Habitat preferences for the Galerina include growing on decaying wood, particularly in damp areas such as forests, swamps, and bogs.

Prevention measures include only consuming mushrooms that have been positively identified as safe by an expert, never consuming mushrooms found in the wild that haven’t been positively identified, and avoiding foraging in areas where Galerina mushrooms are known to grow.

9. False Parasol (Chlorophyllum rhacodes)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

You might be surprised to learn that the False Parasol mushroom is often mistaken for a popular edible species, leading to many cases of mushroom poisoning each year.

This large, white-capped mushroom is commonly found in grassy areas, and its cap can grow up to 12 inches in diameter.

While it may look similar to the edible Parasol mushroom, there are some key differences in its identification that can help you avoid poisoning.

One of the main distinguishing features of the False Parasol is the presence of a ring on the stem, which is absent in the edible Parasol mushroom.

Additionally, the False Parasol has a greenish tint to its cap and spores, while the Parasol has a brownish color.

If ingested, the False Parasol can cause a range of toxicity effects, including vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

It’s important to be able to correctly identify this mushroom to avoid any potential poisoning symptoms.

10. Deadly Webcap (Cortinarius rubellus)

Florida Poisonous Mushrooms

If you’re not careful when foraging for mushrooms, it’s easy to mistake the Deadly Webcap for a harmless variety.

This mushroom is native to Florida and is found in coniferous forests, as well as in mixed hardwood forests.

The cap of the Deadly Webcap ranges from reddish-brown to purple and has a convex shape. It is covered with a silky veil that leaves a distinctive ring on the stem.

The gills are cinnamon colored and the spores are rust-brown.

However, consuming this mushroom can lead to severe toxicity symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain.

These symptoms usually appear within a few hours after ingestion and can last for several days.

If you or someone you know has consumed the Deadly Webcap, it is important to seek medical attention immediately.

There is no specific antidote for this type of poisoning, so treatment is supportive and focuses on relieving symptoms.

To prevent poisoning, it is best to avoid eating wild mushrooms unless you’re an experienced forager and can positively identify the mushroom as safe to eat.

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