Wild "Poisonous" Plant Of The Week 10 - Angel's Wings

Botanical name: Pleurocybella porrigens,

Common names: Angel’s Wings,

Seasonality: Common from August to November in the UK.

Habitat: Widely spread throughout the Northern hemisphere. In the UK, it is particularly prominent in Scotland, with rarer distribution throughout the rest of the country. This fungus lives on decaying/rotting wood, particularly coniferous, so is common in pine forests. Particularly likes growing amongst Hemlock.

Identification: A fairly distinctive looking, delicate, bracket like fungus with no stem/stipe. It is pure white in colour until later stages of maturity where in it turns a more yellowish colour. It generally grows in clumps and has funnel shaped, overlapping caps. The gills are white. Has a pleasant, faint odour associated with it. Quite easy to confuse with an Oyster mushroom (although the Oyster mushroom has a distinctive purple tinge to its spores). This mushroom has been identified as the source of a spate of fatal poisonings in Japan in the last few years, although being of an advances age, seemed to be an important determining factor in the patient’s recovery or succumbing.

Toxicity: Highly toxic, although was once thought of as being edible (erroneously). The chemicals contained within can lead to serious brain injury and death. There have been many recorded deaths, associated with this mushroom.

Photos courtesy of Strobilomyces - Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=461169