Germany 2011: Mushroom Picking in the Lorsch Forest

8/10/2011 08:15:00 PM

...or "A series of pictures of poisonous mushrooms".

Yesterday morning we took an invigorating walk through the Lorscher Wald (Lorsch Forest) to pick some mushrooms!  With our trusty steed Cora the Labrador, and Sandra's mushroom-expert uncle Reiner, we were on the lookout for Maronenpilze and Steinpilze. Unfortunately though, there didn't seem to be huge quantities of mushrooms growing, and we mainly found poisonous ones!  Even though the weather here has been cooler and wetter than usual, Reiner said it still must have been a bit early in the year.  But still, it was nice to take a walk in the beautiful forest, and I found it fascinating to see all the different types of mushrooms.  We may go again in a few weeks' time!

This should go without saying, but this post is not intended as a guide to wild mushrooms, but just some pictures of the ones we found.  There are quite a few poisonous species of mushrooms which happen to look just like edible ones to the inexperienced eye.  Don't go mushroom picking unless you have an experienced guide with you, and unless they are 100% super-duper sure, definitely do not eat any!

And here are some phrases that might help you out if you happen to be mushroom picking in Germany.

Kann man das essen? = Can you eat that?
Das ist giftig. = That's poisonous.
Das ist tödlich. = That's deadly.

Ok, let's go.  There were lots of different types, and Reiner didn't know the names of all of them, but you gotta admit, they look pretty cool!  Unless specified, these are all poisonous.


Apparently, the stripy underside of the cap is an indicator that the mushroom is poisonous.  See the difference between the one above, and the one below, which is actually edible.

Above we have Maronenröhrling, or chestnut mushrooms!  We found a grand total of four of these during our three hours in the woods.  (Wahey!)  However, it's important to remember that you can't just eat any mushroom with a non-stripy underside!  We only knew these were edible because Reiner recognised the species.

We saw loads of funky-looking Baumpilze (tree-mushrooms), which grow on the sides of trees or logs.

Another type of Baumpilz.  I love how this looks like a giant pair of lips!  Apparently when these get dry, you can break them up and use them as kindling.

And below we have a Fliegenpilz.  These pretty red-and-white polka dot mushrooms are the type that adorn the covers of children's fairy tales, but they're actually hallucinogenic!  They're called Fliegenpilz (flying mushrooms) because they "make you fly" if you eat them.


Another massive Baumpilz.  It looks kinda like a creature from the deep!

This one looks like a champignon, but I'm pretty sure it's poisonous.

This one is a Hexen-Röhrling, or "witch mushroom".  (Incidentally, "Hexen" is a word I already knew, from listening to the German cast recording of Wicked so many times.  Wicked: Die Hexen von Oz!)
To the untrained eye, this one might look edible, with its non-stripy underside.  But - and the name is a dead giveaway - the witch mushroom is poisonous.

Another way you can tell is by slicing the stem crosswise.  If it turns blue on contact with the air, it's poisonous.  Und zum beispiel...


We did bring two of our chestnut mushrooms home, with the intention of eating them in scrambled eggs.  But you know what, even though they were the youngest edible mushrooms we found, they still weren't that fresh, so we thought it would be best to leave them.

Hopefully our next mushroom picking expedition (or trip to the market, haha), will yield more mushrooms!  A big danke schön to Reiner for a fun and informative morning!

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  1. Very cool, even if most of 'em were totally giftig. :-D

  2. So many beautiful mushrooms. And all so poisonous. I think I've seen the Fliegenpilz near my work place before. Is that possible? Do they grow in Australia? I thought they were probably poisonous so didn't touch them.



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