Oak Bay issues warning over early appearance of potentially lethal ‘death cap’ mushroom

Oak Bay issues warning over early appearance of potentially lethal 'death cap' mushroom
Paul Kroeger
A photo of death cap mushrooms, which are extremely poisonous.

A mushroom that can potentially kill people if they eat it is beginning to grow in Oak Bay ahead of schedule, the district says.

Amanita phalloides, commonly known as the death cap mushroom, usually begin to appear in the damp fall but this year it’s already popping up, the District of Oak Bay says.

The mushrooms are a pale yellowish colour with a large-cap and skirting underneath them, They can cause severe illness or potentially death in humans, especially children, and are also dangerous to pets.

Anyone who ingests a poisonous mushroom should go to the nearest hospital or call the BC Drug and Poison Information Centre at 1-800-567-8911 or call 911.

Despite the hot, dry summer, death caps have already sprouted up on some properties in part because of unnecessary lawn-watering, according to the district.

If someone finds death cap mushrooms on their property they should wear rubber gloves when removing them and throw them into the garbage, not compost or recycling, the district warns.

Anyone mowing their lawn should also check to make sure they aren’t mowing over a death cap mushroom, as it may cause it to spread.

Death caps usually grow under non-native trees like Linden, English Oak and Beech, but since they were discovered in Victoria they’ve been found to adapt to native species like Garry Oaks.

The BCCDC says death cap mushrooms contains toxins that damage the liver and kidney. Within six to 12 hours, people experience symptoms like cramping, abdominal pain, vomiting, diarrhea and dehydration.

B.C.’s first reported death due to the death cap was in 2016 when a three-year-old Victoria boy died after foraging with his family.


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