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THE POISON PLANT PATCH

Poison Ivy, Monkshood, Buttercup, Destroying Angel are all examples of toxic plants or mushrooms that can cause vomiting, convulsions, diarrhea, heart failure, contact dermatitis or death.

The deadly beauty of common wildflowers of the Northeast is illustrated here, in addition to the medical symptoms of poisoning. Learn more about the alkaloids, resins, oils and toxic proteins found in house plants, annuals, perennials or native wildflowers. More than 50 plants, mushrooms and algae are included. Did you know that only a few microscopic algae are responsible for the closure of shellfish to harvesting seasonally?

The website contains but a sample of potential poison plants, not all known toxic plants are identified, nor are all known plant toxins included. It is not intended to replace medical consultation, but is intended as an introduction to the possibilities.

FEATURED POISON PLANT

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria)

Fly agaric (,Amanita muscaria) is larger and more colourful than the other “’shrooms.” It is very common in Nova Scotian forests, especially beneath evergreens.

Like other Amanita species, some of which are deadly, fly agaric begins with a button stage, when it is covered by a universal membrane, or veil. At this early stage, fly agaric is virtually indistinguishable from other, deadly Amanita fungi. There is a serious risk of confusing the species, with fatal results.

As the mushroom matures, it erupts through the universal veil revealing a colourful cap ranging from yellow, to rose, to deep red. The remains of the top part of the veil produce conspicuous white wart-like patches on the cap and the remnants of the veil at the base of the stem is called the volva or death cup. As the cap expands, exposing the spore-producing gills, a ring (annulus), which is the remains of the torn protective tissue covering the immature gills, is left attached to the stem in this and most other species of Amanita mushrooms.

Squirrels and other rodents often feed on fly agaric, but this does not mean the fungus is edible by humans. While ingestion of a single mushroom may cause no lasting effects, consumption of 10 or more can be fatal, if medical assistance is not immediate.

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