Most mushrooms that are poisonous will just you a headache or make you throw up.
It’s rare that a species will actually kill you.
The death cap is one of those.
It kills your cells
and then it concentrates in your liver, in your kidneys,
and it causes those organs to shut down.
But the bigger story is that death caps are becoming more of a global species,
and how it’s affecting the larger ecosystem is still a bit of a mystery.
Death caps are an amanita mushroom that grow on the roots of trees.
They basically make little slippers that go on the ends of the roots.
And so they’re taking sugars from the tree
while giving back nutrients that they collect underground
creating a symbiotic relationship.
And it’s interesting
because you‘ll see a circle of mushrooms on the ground and think,
“Oh, somebody must have made these out of ceramic
because they just created this little fairy land.”
But if you step back and look at it,
you can tell that mushroom is actually attached to the roots of the tree.
Mushrooms that are attached to roots, like death caps,
often have spores that degrade quickly,
so they don’t really travel that far.
But humans got involved and moved trees around for ornamental purposes,
一时间 这些原本没人干预 会一直生长在欧洲的蘑菇
and suddenly these mushrooms that without human involvement would have stayed in Europe,
have actually found a much better niche in the Pacific Northwest
by traveling in the roots of their host trees.
We’ve opened Pandora’s box by entirely mobilizing mushrooms.
And now death caps are not just staying with their host trees,
but moving to new native hosts by traveling along where
the roots of one tree touch the roots of another.
It’s unclear how this is playing out in ecosystems.
They may be bumping out native mushrooms.
They may be introducing new pathogens to the plants.
But what is becoming clear is that
the death caps are naturalizing in a way,
and there is no way you can stop them.