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July 6, 1935


JAMA. 1935;105(1):34-35. doi:10.1001/jama.1935.02760270036015

The often uncritical enthusiasms engendered by the approach of summer warrants the renewed reminder that not all of nature's products are beneficent friends of man. The most deadly species of mushroom, Amanita phalloides, which causes more than 90 per cent of the deaths from mushroom poisoning, thrives from early June until the first autumn frosts. The flavor of this mushroom is reported to be delicious;1 the young specimens are the most poisonous and are also most apt to be mistaken for the edible forms by the inexperienced mycologist. Other persons, even less prudent, may ingest toxic varieties after trying various "tests" on them. One of the common kitchen examinations consists in placing a piece of bright silver in the utensil while the plants are cooking. If the silver is not tarnished, the mushrooms are considered safe for consumption. The efficacy of this worthless test is believed in by an astounding

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