Nugget of Knowledge: Wild mushrooms

Poisonous mushrooms look similar to other varieties


YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio (WYTV) – With the September rain above normal, green lawns are also sprouting some mushrooms. So can you eat them? It’s best to buy from the store, and here’s why:

Mushroom myths:

  • ‘It’s OK if you can peel the cap.’   WRONG, It is easy to peel a Death Cap, and it’s poisonous.
  • ‘Mushrooms growing on wood are safe.’ NO. Not all of them are and some are deadly, like the Funeral Bell.
  • ‘If you see other animals eating them they are OK.’ This rule is not true; many animals can eat poisonous fungi with no ill effects.

Some good rules apply for avoiding poisonous mushrooms, if you are a novice:

  • Avoid mushrooms with white gills and avoid mushrooms with red on the cap or stem.
  • Avoid parasol-shaped mushrooms, or mushrooms that look like wide-open umbrellas with white rings around the stem and white, milky gills. These mushrooms, especially brightly-colored and spotted parasols, may be full of one of nature’s deadliest poisons.

Problem is, some toxic mushrooms look very similar perfectly good to eat mushrooms. It can be hard for a novice to tell. The best rule is unless you are 100 percent certain it’s OK, don’t eat it, not unless you’re looking forward to a liver transplant.

Did you miss an episode of Daybreak, or want to re-visit a previous ‘Nugget’? View previous ‘Nugget of Knowledge’ entries on

Do you have an idea for a ‘Nugget of Knowledge,’ send your idea in an email to