It would not be wisdom to knowingly eat any mushrooms from the Amanita family. Some of them are safe, but the majority of them can kill you – or be used to kill someone. The trick is knowing how to allow your character to use the mushrooms so he can either escape detection by the law or mess up and get caught.
The lepiota mushroom is also known as the parasol mushroom or baggy parasol. The spores of these mushrooms are white with a stem that turns orange when broken or cut. Rings are usually on the stems.
With a toxicity rating of 5, symptoms begin to show between 6 and 15 hours after ingestion. Once in a while, though, there are no symptoms for up to forty-eight hours. If the person dies, it could take from four to seven days; if the individual is lucky enough to recover, the recovery could take up to two weeks.
What are the symptoms? Since lepiotas contain the same deadly toxins as the death cap, the symptoms are the same – nausea, vomiting, and bloody diarrhea. Unfortunately for the victim, there are no known antidotes for poisoning by this mushroom.
The lepiota mushroom can be found near trees. Some of the larger varieties of this mushroom are edible, but would you want to take a chance?
The panther mushroom, closely related to the fly agaric, only has a toxicity rating of 3, but a person can still die from ingesting its poison. The more a person ingests, the more severe his or her symptoms will be. If your character ingests this mushroom, his symptoms will include nausea, vomiting, twitching, drowsiness, low blood pressure, excess salivation, sweating, tearing, excessive urination, trouble seeing, convulsions, light headedness, dehydration, mood changes, hallucinations, staggering, and he will possibly lapse into a coma. These horrific effects may last up to 10 hours and the symptoms may disappear all by themselves within 24 hours. Still, I wouldn't willingly eat this mushroom.
Death from eating this mushroom that is found in woodlands throughout Asia, Europe and North America is rare, but it does happen, usually after consuming extremely large quantities of it. Withing twelve hours, the person who pigged out on this deadly delicacy, usually suffers cardiovascular collapse or respiratory failure. Then the person is no more.
Your character will have a much better chance of killing off someone if he were to feed the unfortunate person the deadly webcap, closely related to the fool's webcap. The reaction time to ingesting this silent killer may be slow, but by the time the symptoms are noticed, it is too late. If the victim is treated immediately, there is hope. If not, well, there is no known antidote and the person will leave this world.
What are the effects and symptoms of ingesting this mushroom? Orellanin is the poison it contains. The liver and the kidneys are the organs targeted and the poison attacks them silently. The first symptoms could appear only 2 to 3 days after ingestion, or they could take as long as 3 weeks to show their face. When the symptoms do finally appear, the victim will most likely think he has the flu. The early stages of renal failure – intense thirst, frequent urination, pain on or around kidneys, hematuria (blood in urine), jaundice, oliguria (infrequent urination), weakness, convulsions, coma, and finally death - will occur next.
Where can one find the deadly webcap or its close relative, the fool's webcap? The deadly webcap can be found in central Europe, mainly in Poland, and in temperate parts of Northern Europe. It has also been found as far north as the pine woods of Finnish Lapland. Fool's cap is mainly found throughout southern Europe. It has also been seen as far north as southern Norway.
Whatever type of mushroom your villain decides to commit murder with, make sure he is sneaky and it is unexpected. Mix the fatal amount of mushrooms in with something the victim normally eats, something that already contains mushrooms. If the victim doesn't like mushrooms, grind them into powder to sprinkle on his food, or liquefy and mix the toxic liquid in with some other drink or use as broth in a stew. However the intended victim is going to receive the poison, it will still have the same effect.