Which of These Mushroom Could Kill You?

Public Domain. Poisonous and suspicious mushrooms in Otto's Encyclopedia (1897) / Wikimedia Commons

Can you tell the difference between safe mushrooms and poisonous ones?

Oh, mushrooms: Providers of enormous health benefits – deliverers of poison worthy of a wicked fairytale queen. Why are you so tricky?

There are so many beautiful, sustainable things about foraging wild foods, and there's nothing quite like plucking mushrooms from the forest floor and eating them shortly thereafter. And I am guessing there is nothing quite like plucking mushrooms from the forest floor and eating them shortly thereafter ... and then doubling over with stomach cramps and vomiting, alas.

In the United States, from 1999 to 2016, there were 133,700 reported cases of "mushroom exposure," mostly unintentional and by ingestion. While most of the cases have resulted in minor harm, around 704 of them resulted in major harm, and f52 resulted in death. The moral of the story is know your mushrooms!

To help you along with that mission, we have a video produced by American Chemical Society and PBS Digital Studios that tests viewers on their identification skills. Watch below and learn the difference between tasty and fatal!