Foragers beware, not all fungi is favourable to eat

Among the warm autumn colours of Invercargill's Queens Park are the various species of mushroom and fungi.

AUTUMN is the time of year for fungi-finding fun but an Invercargill naturalist warns knowledge of what is edible is needed.

Environment Southland councillor and naturalist Lloyd Esler said while some were edible, some definitely were not.

While he had never seen it before, there was a fungus called death cap.

Among the warm autumn colours of Invercargill’s Queens Park are the various species of mushroom and fungi.

“Apparently it tastes OK, and then you get the symptoms about eight hours after you’ve eaten – by which time it is too late.”

This was the reason people were not encouraged to eat toadstools if they did not know what it was they were eating, he said.

There was a lot still unknown about them, and in the past, consequences of ingesting might have been discovered by someone feeding it to someone they did not like.

“You’d imagine kings summoning a prisoner up from a dungeon and saying, you eat this one and survive, we’ll knock a year off your sentence’, and the prisoner says, ‘well what if I die?’ and the king says we’ll name the toadstool after you’.”

He said there were about 20 different sorts he was happy to eat.

Mr Esler had in the past arranged sessions where people could learn about the species in Invercargill’s Queens Park.

“We can taste the ones we know are edible and speculate about the ones we don’t.

“The lesson is, just make sure you know what you’re eating. You can’t just taste everything and assume it is going to be OK – it probably will be, but it may kill you.”

  • His next Fungal Foray in Queens Park would be at 2pm on Sunday, May 2, at the Feldwick Gates.