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Victorians have been warned not to trust apps claiming to be able to identify poisonous mushrooms as the fungi thrive in the state’s cool, wet conditions.

The Victorian Health Department is telling people to not pick wild mushrooms in Melbourne or regional Victoria, emphasising it is very difficult to tell the difference between mushrooms that are safe to eat and poisonous death cap and yellow-staining mushrooms.

“It can be very difficult to distinguish between toxic and edible varieties of wild mushroom,” Deputy Chief Health Officer Dr Angie Bone said.

Death cap mushrooms
Death cap mushrooms are poisonous. (Getty)

“There is a serious risk of misidentification when using mushroom-identifying apps and there can be major consequences to your health of getting it wrong.

“Consuming just a single death cap mushroom can result in liver failure and death, so if you are not an expert and absolutely certain of the species of mushroom, do not pick it or eat it.”

Recent rain has provided ideal conditions for poisonous mushroom species to sprout in regional and metropolitan Victoria.

The most dangerous variety is the death cap, which is a larger type of mushroom with a greenish or yellowish cap and white gills that is found near deciduous trees such as oaks.

Death cap mushrooms
Death cap mushrooms (Fairfax Media)

Symptoms of poisoning by death cap can include stomach pains, nausea, vomiting and diarrhoea within hours of consumption.

Organ failure can also occur 24 to 48 hours after the mushrooms have been ingested.

The commonly found yellow-staining mushroom turns yellow when the cap or stem is bruised by a thumbnail.

Bone said anyone who becomes ill after eating mushrooms should seek urgent medical advice and, if possible, take samples of the whole mushroom for identification.

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Parents and pet owners should also be aware of mushrooms in gardens and parks frequented by children and domestic animals.

The health advice is that people should not wait for symptoms to occur if they suspect they have consumed poisonous mushrooms, but should seek medical attention immediately.

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