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Poisonous Plants in GB

54 55 destroying Angel Amanita virosa Family Amanitaceae. This pure white mushroom is found in mixed or broadleaved woods from late summer to autumn. A similar deadly species Amanita verna is found in the spring. The cap is 5 to 12 cm or 2 to 4.5 inches across and peels freely. The stem is 8 to 15 cm or 3 to 6 inches tall with a lax ring and pronounced volva or death cup at the base, although this may be hidden by leaf litter. The young mushroom resembles a white egg, so beware of confusion with puffballs, stinkhorns, field and horse mushrooms, before the cap has opened to reveal its white gills. There is no antidote. Death follows in over 90 of cases and even with early medical intervention mortality is still distressingly high. The deadly toxins present are divided into two groups the amatoxins and the phallotoxins. Amatoxins are the cause of poisoning, because phallotoxins are not absorbed through the gut and do not enter the bloodstream. Amatoxins inhibit RNA production, resulting in cell death, and once transported to the liver they are recycled and reabsorbed over and over again causing incremental liver damage. Multiorgan failure follows if sufficient quantities have been ingested, and by the time symptoms occur much damage has already taken place. Amatoxin poisoning is a notorious business, first noticed by extreme gastric upset 6 12 hours after ingestion. Gastric symptoms last for a day or more, and are followed by apparent complete recovery, but worse is to follow as organ failure takes place. At this stage, transplant surgery may be used in an attempt to save the patients life. Death typically ensues 6 to 16 days after consumption. Early intervention, preferably before the onset of symptoms, is vital.
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