Experts warns of poisonous mushrooms following extra moisture from monsoon rains
ALBUQUERQUE N.M. — The monsoon rains are bringing more mushrooms to New Mexico.
Experts say the extra moisture is making it easier for them to grow all over the state, including backyards, but experts are reminding folks not all wild mushrooms are safe to eat.
In fact, the New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center say there’s been an uptick in calls regarding poisonous mushrooms.
“I think it’s an uptick because of the monsoon but it does concern me that we have more hospitalizations,” said New Mexico Poison and Drug Information Center Director Susan Smolinske.
She says on average, the center receives around 40 calls per year related to poisonous mushrooms. As of Tuesday, the center has already received 41 calls this year.
“It’s a statewide problem and anywhere, there’s moisture mushrooms will pop up. So we see it all over,” Smolinske said.
She says a majority of those calls are from hospitals treating patients who have ingested a poisonous mushroom. Smolinske says most of those cases involve people who picked wild mushrooms.
“When they pick the mushroom, it looked like something they saw in a picture book that was edible,” Smolinske said. “And so they picked it and ate it and then develop symptoms and ended up in the hospital.”
Smolinske says there are a wide range of poisonous mushrooms that grow in New Mexico. When ingested, those mushrooms can lead to symptoms including dehydration, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures, and even death.
“We’ve actually had no fatalities from mushrooms in New Mexico, but there have been in other states and we do have the kind of mushroom that can be fatal found here,” she said.
Smolinske adds there are plenty of edible mushrooms that grow in New Mexico. There are several groups who go foraging for those regularly, but Smolinske says without the right training, it’s very easy to make a fatal mistake.
“My worry is that people will make that mistake and pick one that ends up being less treatable,” she said.
Smolinske says it’s possible to find poisonous mushrooms growing in yards – especially under pine trees – but adds they don’t pose any danger unless consumed. She says it’s also very difficult to eradicate wild mushrooms, so her best advice – just say away.
“I would not pick a while mushroom,” she said.
Smolinske says there are online resources to help identify wild mushrooms.
Smolinske recommended this Facebook group which includes experts who know how to identify all types of mushrooms.