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Monday, 19 September 2011

Angel Wings

Monday Mushroom #21

Angel Wings - Pleurocybella porigens
Pleurocybella porigens has been considered a good edible mushroom for many, many years. 

Then in 2004, 17 people died in Japan after partaking of an unusually large crop of them. 

Scientists have since isolated a toxin in the mushroom that might be able to cause the kind of brain lesions found in the victims. It is a very unstable molecule that would normally be broken down, but eating very large quantities of the mushroom could lead to poisoning - particularly in people whose kidneys are not functioning well.  Nearly all of the victims already had poor kidneys, and an average age of 70. 

It seems the deaths were caused by eating a glut of mushrooms that are normally only available in small quantities. The distinction between poisonous and edible fungi is not always clear cut.

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