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JAMA 100 Years Ago
July 11, 2012


Author Affiliations

JAMA 100 Years Ago Section Editor: Jennifer Reiling, Assistant Editor.

JAMA. 2012;308(2):116. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.3090

In advance of the usual crop of fatal cases of mushroom poisoning which regularly follows the opening of the summer season it may be worth while to offer some comments on the reputed nutritive value of the edible fungi. How little the judgment of the inexpert may be depended on to determine the distinction between the delicious nutritive mushroom or its dangerous and toxic inedible companion may best be emphasized by the fact that there are in this country undoubtedly more than one hundred edible species. The popular distinction between mushroom and toadstool is one of name alone, for many of the supposedly inferior specimens have proved on careful dietetic examination to be harmless to the organism, whereas some of the fungi which bear an extremely close family resemblance to favored articles of diet are the carriers of danger in the form of exceedingly powerful poisons. Let him, therefore, who lacks the training requisite for the unfailing detection and identification of species carefully refrain from excursions into a field of uncertainty so fraught with danger.

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