The Destroying Angel

March 10, 2009


As a vegetarian, normally I’d be singing the praises of mushrooms and the nutritious culinary delight they can bring to one’s palate, but after learning of a Santa Barbara man’s death last week from accidental mushroom poisoning, I wanted to devote a blog post as a warning to people who like to scavenge for and pick wild foliage.

A quick scan of the Web reveals that the mushroom, which the man picked wild from a preserve near Arroyo Burro Beach and sauteed it with his dinner, was an amanita ocreata. Known unofficially as the “Western North American Destroying Angel,” it is highly toxic and deadly.

It can also be deceptive to the inexperienced, according to findings on the Web, because the mushrooms closely resemble varieties of the non-poisonous kind … hence the very oxymoronic nickname.

So just as a friendly reminder: be safe and careful about what you eat!


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