Identification: Puff Balls or Young Amanitas (Destroying Angels)? ASAP.

Discussion in 'Fungi, Lichens and Slime Molds' started by Gasdark, Aug 21, 2012.

  1. Gasdark

    Gasdark Member

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    Here are the mushrooms:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/85443526@N06/7827891270/

    Pre-story summary:

    I ate one of these based on Alexander Schwab's book "Mushrooming Without Fear," after carefully completing the checklist in the book and comparing to pictures therein and online. only later found out just how similar and dangerous young destroying angels are to puffballs. It's now been roughly 28 hours since ingenstion with no negative symptoms whatsoever, but I want to at least run the picture by this community. (and perhaps shed some light on what is really a major oversight in Schwab's book).

    Longer story:

    I'm new to the UBC forums and mushrooming in general. I bought Alexander Schwab's "Mushrooming Without Fear" this weekend, read the book twice, very carefully and set about on a little mushroom hunt. In the process, I found these mushrooms. I checked them very carefully against Schwab's checklist, and even sacrificed one in the forest to make sure the interior flesh was undifferentiated and white. My only hesitance at the time was that I was unsure if it was "firm" as Mr. Schwab's checklist ambiguously requires.

    Mostly satisfied, I harvested the other one and brought it home. Later that evening I double checked all the elements - conical spines,which rub off and leave a net pattern, correct cap color, no apparent gills or veil, and when halved the interior did not, as far as I could see, show any interior structures. I also compared them to puffball pictures in the book and online and they seemed, in every respect, a dead on match.

    Having carefully fulfilled all the elements of Schwab's checklist, I felt, as it is the purpose of the book, that I could eat it without fear.

    Now, Schwab mentions haphazardly (and I believe irresponsibly) that the destroying angel may be mistaken for the puffball and is not edible. He couples this one sentence, un-pictured warning, with a statement in the introduction that none of the mushrooms in the book could be mistaken for fatally poisonous mushrooms.

    It was only by chance that I later discovered how dangerously similar the destroying angel is in its button form to a common puffball, and that it is the most dangerous mushroom on the eastern seaboard. Long story short, my no fear mushrooming is now quite saturated in fear.

    Again, it's been 28 hours since I ate about half a mushroom, about 1 inch in diameter, and I have not had a single negative symptom or felt ill in any way. Unfortunately, unlike the other mushroom's I've posted here, I only took the one picture and did not save a sample - a symptom of naivete and my belief that there was little risk involved thanks to Mr. Schwab's book (and a mistake I will not make again...) . Despite every indication to the contrary, I can't help but be worried. Should I be?
     
  2. sabetts

    sabetts Active Member

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    I'm not familiar with either destroying angels or the puffball in your picture, having never seen either of them in the wild.

    That said, Destroying Angels are supposed to be all white and grow in the dirt. Your picture shows a dark spot in the middle and it seems--though its hard to tell from the angle--that they're growing on wood. Destroying angels don't have little spikes on the cap that I see in the picture. In addition, I'm pretty sure even young destroying angles that have not broken out of the volva have visible structures (like gills) when you cut them open, as you did. But it sounds like you didn't see any.

    So, in my not terribly informed opinion I don't think you've poisoned yourself with a Destroying Angel.
     
  3. Gasdark

    Gasdark Member

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    Thank you,

    I'm basically looking for as much confirmation of my novice observations as possible, and I appreciate your and any other input immensely.
     
  4. Gasdark

    Gasdark Member

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    Of course, I'm also looking for a total rebuttal of my novice observations, should that be in order.
     
  5. MycoRob

    MycoRob Active Member

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    Yes, these are puffballs. If they were growing on wood, as the picture suggests, they could not have been an Amanita. I don't know the book you reference (and i have 100+ mushroom books), for the sake of your liver and kidney, please don't rely on it, exclusively, anymore. Also, please don't eat another mushroom without running it by an expert for awhile. This board is useful, but you are lucky to have one of the best mushroom clubs in the country right there in NYC. Good luck.
     
  6. Gasdark

    Gasdark Member

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    excellent advice - I will hasten my application to the mycological society. Much thanks.
     
  7. sabetts

    sabetts Active Member

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    Here's the book: http://books.google.ca/books?id=O23BY9RHZn0C

    It looks like it helps ID some of the classic, distinct edible mushrooms: boletes, chanterelles, hedgehog fungus, puff balls, cauliflower mushroom, and a few others.
     
  8. Gasdark

    Gasdark Member

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    it does, and apparently pretty well because this and a chanterelle find of mine seem to have been correct.

    I bought the book based on reviews calling it hyper protective but accurate.

    however, given the degree of risk involved in the destroying angel, the book should either have left out puff balls or at least given some contrasting pictures and a more serious warning. instead it leads he reader to believe no mushroom could reasonably be mistaken for the ones in the book that would cause more than a couple of days illness.
     
  9. Joel Bolete

    Joel Bolete Active Member

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    I agree with MycoRob, he has helped me many times on this forum in that past 2 seasons.
    This is definitely a pufball, I have eaten them many times and I like em. I forage for wild edibles, and truly enjoy locating species of mushroom and fauna that are edible.

    I am not farmiliar with amanitas, particularily the deathangel.

    I read up on many mushrooms year round but have not found these particular ones in the wild.

    Thanks again MycoRob!
     
  10. Gasdark

    Gasdark Member

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    Thank you all,

    I figure, as its been 48 hours without a peep, all indications are positive - and I will be sure not to eat wild shrooms again until I join the NYC club and have some guidance.

    I'm looking forward to being apart of this forum as I learn more.
     

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