6 POISONOUS Mushrooms found in New Mexico! (2024)

What kinds of poisonous mushrooms are found in New Mexico?

Types of poisonous mushrooms in New Mexico

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 New Mexico. 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)!

6 Poisonous MUSHROOMS in New Mexico:


#1. Splitgill Mushroom

  • Schizophyllum commune

Types of poisonous mushrooms in New Mexico

  • 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 New Mexico 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.


#2. Funeral Bell / Deadly Skullcap

  • Galerina marginata

Types of poisonous mushrooms in New Mexico

  • 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 New Mexico 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.


#3. Fly Agaric

  • Amanita muscaria

Types of poisonous mushrooms in New Mexico

  • The caps are scarlet or dark orange with white, wart-like spots, which may wash off as mushrooms mature.
  • The stalk is white and brittle with shaggy rings of scales, a bulbous base, a cup-like veil near the base, and a skirt-like veil near the top.

The Fly Agaric is arguably the most iconic poisonous mushroom in New Mexico.

This colorful toadstool has an equally colorful history. The name “fly” may come from the mushroom’s historical use as an insecticide in parts of Europe. It contains ibotenic acid, which attracts and kills flies.

However, some people believe the name refers to the hallucinations that result from its consumption. This mushroom once saw widespread use in religious ceremonies.

Through the ages, this mushroom has also been wrapped up in fairytales and folklore. You may remember it as the mushroom Alice is given to eat in Alice in Wonderland or as the mushrooms in the Super Mario Bros games.

Fly Agarics grow in symbiotic associations with trees and can be found in delicious and coniferous forests in temperate and boreal regions.

While it is poisonous, deaths due to consuming Fly Agaric are rare.


#4. 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 New Mexico 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.


#5. 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 New Mexico!

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.


#6. Saddle-shaped False Morel

  • Gyromitra Infula

Saddle-shaped False Morel (Gyromitra Infula)

  • Their surface may be smooth to somewhat bumpy and irregular, variable in color, and can be tan to yellowish brown, reddish brown, or dark brown.
  • The stems are roundish or slightly compressed and are usually white or pink-tinged with white mycelium near the base.

These toxic mushrooms get their name from their tell-tale, two-lobed saddle shape.

Though there are reports of people eating these mushrooms after boiling, most experts conclude Saddle-shaped False Morels are toxic. They contain contain the compound Gyromitrin.

Interestingly, the human body metabolizes Gyromitrin into Monomethylhydrazine, a significant component in rocket fuel.

Saddle-shaped False Morels usually grow in New Mexico in boreal, montane, or coastal forests. They often grow in close associations with several specific tree species, including Western White Pine, Black Spruce, Douglas Fir, Western Hemlock, Balsam Poplar, and Paper Birch.

You may spot Saddle-shaped False Morels growing singly or in small groups, often on rotten wood. It’s also commonly found growing on packed ground, like along rural roads or in campgrounds.


Learn more about things that grow in New Mexico.


Which of these poisonous mushrooms have you seen in New Mexico?

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