Destroying Angel

Poisonous Poisonous
Autumn Autumn
Summer Summer

A beautiful but deadly mushroom causing the same symptoms as Amanita phalloides. Fairly rare.

Mushroom Type
Common Names Destroying Angel
Scientific Name Amanita virosa
Season Start Jul
Season End Nov
Average Mushroom height (CM) 12
Average Cap width (CM) 12
Please note that each and every mushroom you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Cap

Convex then conical to almost flat but usually retaining an umbo. The cap is pure white and can be viscid.

Gills

Gills white, free of the stem, quite crowded.

Stem

White with a fibrous skin. As with other Amanitas the stem starts from a bulbous volva but the skirt is fragile and often missing or slight.

Skirt

A slight skirt with no striations which can be easily damaged or missing.

Volva

A large bulbous volva that can be deep under the surface.

Flesh

Pure white.

Habitat

Most mixed woodland, particularly deciduous.

Spore Print

White. Globose.

Taste / Smell

DO NOT try any of this mushroom.

Frequency

Fairly rare.

Other Facts

Although causing many fatalities this deadly fungus has no known antidote. The symptoms start several hours after ingestion with severe vomiting, diarrhoea and abdominal pains and can last for a few days; this is followed by what seems to be a full recovery for a few days but ending in death from kidney and liver failure. The main poison, alpha amanatin, kills liver cells and passes through the kidneys to be recirculated and cause more damage.

COMMENTS

7 comments for Destroying Angel

  1. Yettsoman says:

    This deadly mushroom is locally abundant and common in some parts of Scotland. Please take care.

  2. Jonathan says:

    Does this mushroom ever grow on grassland, or is it a forest species only? I found something similar on a rugby pitch, which at first I thought was a young horse mushroom.

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      They grow in association with trees but there are several look-a-likes including the Leucoagaricus leucothites which I have found in grassland.

  3. Martin says:

    Salutary lesson. The sheer beauty of these lily white mushrooms, the absence of a giveaway smell, indeed a pleasant ‘mushroomy’ aroma, and their ‘peelability’ (often cited as a test of edible mushrooms) conceal the fact that half of one of these can be deadly to an adult. The potent toxins are not denatured by cooking, they recirculate in our systems, and some authorities advocate not touching the mushrooms at all. But the ‘lesson’ is that I have a handsome crop on my Wiltshire lawn, right outside the kitchen. And not two feet from a patch of common field mushrooms. Which shortly after recent rain, warmth, and rapid growth the Destroying Angel’s various forms too easily resemble, to a careless hand (I would have liked to attach a cautionary pic). And the course of inadvertent poisoning is as insidious as it is reliably terminal, if not treated in hospital within 36 hours, and then possibly only with a liver transplant. Very glad I looked into it! At the risk of engendering uncalled for self-confidence (or worse) the potential lethality of these things merits wider recognition.

  4. Jan says:

    Have some also on a lawn in Wiltshire – what is best way to dispose of them ???

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      I’m not sure how to get rid of them permanently, fungicides can damage the ecosystem of your garden. Place them in a bag and put them in your landfill bin to dispose of them.

  5. Rachel Mitchell says:

    Found two suspected specimens of today in my polytunnel. Some of the soil in my raised beds was taken from wooded areas of our land and we use home-grown Hazel twigs as plant supports. That’s the only explanation I have for how they got in there. Someone else helped me ID them and I’m really hoping they are actually Leucoagaricus leucothites…

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