Victoria’s health authorities are advising anyone planning to pick wild mushrooms to exercise extreme caution because it is likely to be a bumper season for the potentially fatal death cap mushroom.
Recent rain and warm soil have provided perfect growing conditions for the mushrooms which are often found near oak trees.
The poisonous mushroom looks almost identical to common straw mushrooms in its early stages.
If eaten they can cause stomach pains, vomiting and diarrhoea and in 80 per cent of cases, death.
Acting chief health officer Professor Michael Ackland said the real danger occurs when those symptoms ease after a couple of days.
“Unfortunately that period where the symptoms subside is associated with very serious liver failure and possibly kidney disease which can be terminal,” he said.
Professor Ackland recommended people only buy safe mushrooms from retail stores.
Last year four people were poisoned after eating the death cap mushrooms in NSW and the ACT.