10 POISONOUS Mushrooms found in Mississippi! (2024)

What kinds of poisonous mushrooms are found in Mississippi?

Types of poisonous mushrooms in Mississippi

If you spend time outside, you’ve probably asked this question at least once. Poisonous mushrooms definitely have an infamous reputation.

Below, I have listed common poisonous mushrooms you can expect to find in Mississippi. But in NO WAY is this a complete listing of dangerous fungi. There are thousands of mushrooms in North America, so reviewing and writing about every toxic species is nearly impossible.

IMPORTANT: I can’t stress enough that you should NEVER eat a mushroom you find. As you will see below, there are many poisonous types, and some species will kill you. So stay safe, and don’t eat any wild mushrooms unless you are with a mycologist (mushroom expert)!

10 Poisonous MUSHROOMS in Mississippi:

#1. Lilac Bonnet

  • Mycena pura

Also called Lilac Mycenas or Lilac Bellcaps.

Types of poisonous mushrooms in Mississippi

  • The caps begin as lilac or purple and bell-shaped but flatten and fade to other shades, including whitish, yellowish, pinkish brown, or reddish as they age.
  • The stems are smooth and white or flushed with the cap’s color.

These toxic mushrooms are one of the most beautiful fungi in Mississippi. Their unusual lilac coloring makes them a treat for hikers and adventurers to spot as they grow on the ground of coniferous and hardwood forests. Their radish-like odor can also help you to distinguish them.

Despite all their charm, Lilac Bonnets are fun to look at but not to eat. These mushrooms contain several toxic compounds.

Lilac Bonnets contain sesquiterpene, which can cause vomiting, cramps, and diarrhea, and strobilurin, which is often used in agricultural fungicides.

They also contain small amounts of muscarine, which causes symptoms like blurred vision, excessive sweating, increased salivation, and abdominal issues.

Interestingly, Lilac Bonnets weren’t always thought to be toxic. It’s possible to find older mushroom field guides that list Lilac Bonnets as edible.

#2. Splitgill Mushroom

  • Schizophyllum commune

Types of poisonous mushrooms in Mississippi

  • The caps are 1–4 cm (0.3–1.6 in) wide.
  • They are pale white or gray and grow in stacked clusters that resemble shelves.
  • As its name suggests, the gills of this mushroom are spaced apart like individual threads.

These toxic mushrooms thrive in Mississippi on decaying trees during rainy periods.

These tough, leathery mushrooms were once thought to be nonpoisonous. However, recent research shows they’re often linked to fungal infections of the lungs. Symptoms can include breathing problems, prolonged cough, and other respiratory ailments.

#3. Funeral Bell / Deadly Skullcap

  • Galerina marginata

Types of poisonous mushrooms in Mississippi

  • The caps are usually pale yellow, brown, or orange, depending on age and weather, and are generally darker colored toward the center.
  • They have tan, fairly crowded gills and pale, thin flesh that darkens with age.

This aptly named toxic mushroom contains the same compounds as the famous Death Cap mushroom. These deadly compounds are known as amatoxins, and consuming them can result in SEVERE liver damage.

It is believed that about ten fatal poisonings in the last century can be attributed to the Funeral Bell.

This mushroom is often mistaken by foragers looking for edible or hallucinogenic mushroom species.

Foragers sometimes refer to these and other similar-looking mushrooms as LBMs or “little brown mushrooms” because they can be difficult to distinguish.

One of the identifying features of this poisonous mushroom in Mississippi is that it grows on decaying wood. Funeral Bells most frequently grow on conifer stumps and logs but are occasionally spotted in deciduous forests or even in open fields where woodchips have been dumped.

#4. Eastern American Jack-O’-Lantern

  • Omphalotus illudens

dangerous mushrooms

  • The caps are 3-20 cm (1-8 in) wide.
  • Their coloring is bright orange to pale yellow.
  • These mushrooms have a typical toadstool shape, thick stalk, and a large, flat cap.

You might find it odd that a mushroom is named after a popular Halloween decoration. However, once you learn more about Eastern American Jack-O’-Lantern mushrooms, you’ll quickly start to understand!

First, the coloring of this fungus is remarkably similar to bright orange pumpkins. Imagine a spooky face on the cap, and you’ll see what I mean.

But probably the most interesting similarity between Jack-O’-Lanterns and this mushroom is that they both glow in the dark. That’s right! Eastern American Jack-O’-Lantern Mushrooms have a bioluminescent chemical that allows them to glow green in the dark. This glowing green light is thought to attract insects, which then distribute the mushroom’s spores.

By KeithMiklas – Own work, via Wikipedia

Use caution when handling this mushroom. Eastern American Jack-O’-Lanterns are poisonous to humans and can cause vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps if ingested.

They contain a toxic compound called sesquiterpene, which causes cramps, vomiting, and diarrhea. Thankfully, though toxic, these mushrooms aren’t usually deadly. Many novice mushroom hunters mistake them for edible chantarelles.

#5. Sulphur Tuft

  • Hypholoma fasciculare

  • The caps are 2–6 cm (0.8–2.4 in) in diameter.
  • Their coloring is light yellow but darkens to greenish as they mature.
  • This fungus grows in clusters of long-stalked, bell-shaped mushrooms.

Look for Sulphur Tuft Mushrooms in Mississippi on fallen logs, tree stumps, and buried roots in deciduous forests. This fungus is hardy and thrives in many environments. In fact, you can often find Sulphur Tufts even in places where other mushrooms won’t grow.

They look similar to some varieties of edible mushrooms, but you should NOT handle or eat Sulphur Tufts. They are poisonous to humans, whether raw or cooked. This fungus causes vomiting, diarrhea, stomach cramps, kidney disease, and, in rare cases, death.

#6. Violet-toothed Polypore

  • Trichaptum biforme

  • The caps are 1-7.5 cm (0.4-3 in) wide.
  • Their shape is an irregular semicircle, similar to a seashell.
  • The coloring of this fungus is shades of brown with violet, purple, or lavender rings near the edges.

If you spot a mushroom in Mississippi that looks like a clamshell, it’s likely a Violet-toothed Polypore! This species can be identified by its shell-like shape and striped purple coloring. It grows in stacked clusters on rotting logs.

Interestingly, Violet-toothed Polypore is known to only grow on decaying aspen and poplar trees. So, if you live near a forest with those species, you’ll likely find this poisonous mushroom!

Violet-toothed Polypore is inedible and causes stomach problems and dehydration. Make sure to keep your pets away from this toxic mushroom, as it’s particularly poisonous for dogs.

#7. Green-spored Parasol

  • Chlorophyllum molybdites

  • The caps are 8-30 cm (3-12 in) in diameter.
  • This mushroom is white or off-white with irregular brown spots and warts.
  • The gills are visible around the edges of the top and very prominent on the underside.

This is the most frequently eaten poisonous mushroom in Mississippi!

Green-spored Parasols bear an unfortunate resemblance to several edible fungi, which means they’re often eaten by mistake. In addition, this fungus causes severe stomach symptoms such as vomiting, diarrhea, and colic.

Unfortunately, this mushroom is common on lawns and pastures, putting children and pets at greater risk for poisoning. Please keep them away from these mushrooms!

Green-spored Parasols grow directly from the ground instead of from tree logs or other decaying wood. We recently had a cluster pop up after we had new mulch put down. The spores are often present in soil or mulch and can remain dormant until the next fruiting season.

#8. Yellow Patches

  • Amanita flavoconia

  • The caps are 5.5-11.5 cm (2.2-4.5 in) long.
  • Their coloring is bright orange to yellow, with a yellow and white stem.
  • This mushroom typically erupts as a single toadstool-shaped growth.

If you come across a yellow mushroom that looks more like a cartoon, you might have found this variety! Yellow Patches are large toadstool-like mushrooms with bright orange or yellow caps. They have prominent yellow warts.

Although its toxicity hasn’t been confirmed, it’s assumed to be poisonous because this mushroom is a part of the Amanita family. Therefore, it shouldn’t be handled or consumed.

Instead, take a picture and impress your friends with your knowledge of common fungi!

#9. Common Earthball

  • Scleroderma citrinum

Common Earthball (Scleroderma citrinum)

  • They have round, flattened fruiting bodies with hard, scaly, and yellowish to yellow-brown surfaces and white inner rinds that stain pink when sliced.
  • The inner spore mass is white on young mushrooms but turns dark purple to purple-black with age, spreading outward from the center.
  • They have no real stem, but you may find some mycelium threads running into the soil.

These mysterious toxic mushrooms look more like potatoes than fungi at first glance! These odd-looking mushrooms have an unusual method of spore dispersal, too.

Rather than releasing spores from their gills like many mushrooms, these mushrooms eventually form a split in their top as they mature. Each time raindrops, animals, or anything bumps the mushroom, clouds of spores will be released through the slit, eventually leaving just a hollow rind.

You can find Common Earthballs growing in deciduous and coniferous forests and heaths. They do best in soft, sandy, acidic soil.

While not deadly, this mushroom is responsible for many poisonings each year.

It’s commonly confused with Common Puffballs (Lycoperdon perlatum), which are edible mushrooms.

#10. Destroying Angel

  • Amanita bisporigera

Destroying Angel (Amanita bisporigera)

  • The caps are smooth and white and may reach up to 4 inches (10cm) across.
  • The stems are white, up to 5.5 inches (14 cm) long, and have white skirt-like rings near the top and bulbous bases covered in sac-like membranes.

The Destroying Angel is the most toxic Amanita mushroom in Mississippi.

Three different types of amatoxins have been found in Destroying Angels. These compounds affect the body in stages, causing abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea, electrolyte imbalance, shock, liver failure, kidney failure, and eventually death.

Eating a single Destroying Angel is enough to be fatal.

Unfortunately, these are sometimes confused with edible mushrooms. According to the American Association of Poison Control Centers, four deaths have been attributed to The Destroying Angel in the last 40 years.

When young, Destroying Angels don’t have much of a smell. However, as they age, many people report they smell sickly sweet or like rotting meat.

Despite their poisonous reputation, Destroying Angels live in beneficial relationships with trees. They grow around the roots of trees, receiving moisture, protection, and nutrients from the roots while helping to break down organic matter into nutrients that the roots can take up into the tree.

Learn more about things that grow in Mississippi.

Which of these poisonous mushrooms have you seen in Mississippi?

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