Creature Feature: Deadly Galerina (Galerina marginata)
By Emma Dean, CG Science Editor
As the temperature dips lower and lower each night, mushrooms are slowly disappearing for the winter. Although it may seem that the fruits of fungi are constantly in hiding, a trip through the woods can show that mushrooms are somewhat prevalent. However, just because mushrooms are readily available does not mean that all are edible.
The deadly galerina is somewhat self-explanatory in that it is quite deadly. During the button stage, the deadly galerina is small and reddish-brown which is in part how it is often misidentified. Little brown mushrooms tend to resemble each other, but mistaking the deadly galerina has dire effects.
If the deadly galerina is ingested, it is important to receive treatment immediately, but because symptoms do not make themselves known until about 10 hours afterwards, the damage to major organs has already occurred. The toxins specifically target the liver and can cause death if not treated.
It is very important not to eat wild mushrooms that one has not personally and positively identified. If indulging in a diet of wild mushrooms, though, it is a good idea to save at least one specimen in case of resulting illness. Cooking will not expel the toxins.
- Deadly galerina is often mistaken for the honey mushroom (Armillaria mellea) or for the hallucinogenic Psilocybe cubensis.
- The deadly galerina is nd all over the world in Europe, North America, Asia and Australia.
- The mushrooms grow in groupings and feed on the rotting wood of hardwoods and conifers.
- Though found throughout the year, deadly galerina is most commonly found during the autumn months.
- Due to genetic testing, it was discovered in the last decade that many galerinas were in fact only one species and so named Galerina marginata, but this North American variety was previously known as Galerina autumnalis.
- Those who have consumed the deadly mushroom experience a brief, false retreat of symptoms one to two days after ingestion.