Fungus fans warned to stay away from toxic Angel of Death mushroom
Ireland's warm, wet summer is set to deliver a bumper crop of wild Irish mushrooms.
However, a leading fungi expert has warned that wild food foragers need to take extreme care when eating mushrooms whose identities they may be uncertain about.
Ireland's leading mushroom expert and food forager, Bill O'Dea, issued the safety warning amid growing interest in wild wood stuffs.
Unlike years ago where people restricted themselves to ordinary field mushrooms, the soaring interest in foraging has led people into forests and woodland where a bewildering range of mushroom species grow.
Bill stressed the rule is only to eat wild species which have been definitively identified by an expert.
"If you are not absolutely sure about the mushroom species, don't even bring it into your kitchen," he said.
Bill runs mushroom hunts at Kilruddery House in Bray, Co Wicklow, at Kenmare's Park Hotel in Kerry and at the East Coast Cookery Festival at Termonfeckin, Co Louth.
"People need to understand that some of these mushroom species are highly toxic," he added.
These include such aptly named species as Angel of Death and Panther, both of which can cause fatal liver and kidney failure.
Angel of Death is dangerous because it closely resembles safe species.
Bill runs his own website www.mushroomstuff.com