One of the Deadliest Fungi Typical for Japan and Korea Was Found in Australia
One of the deadliest fungi in the world was discovered in northern Australia - thousands of miles from their native habitat in the mountains of Japan and Korea.
The Poison Fire Coral was discovered in a suburb of the northern Australian city of Cairns by a local photographer and subsequently identified by scientists, James Cook University told AFP.
Several people have died in Japan and Korea after confusing the bright red mushrooms with edible similar ones which are used in traditional Oriental medicine.
James Cook University mycologist, Matt Barrett, who specialises in fungi, said poison fire coral could cause “a horrifying array of symptoms” if eaten, including stomach pain, vomiting and fever. Eventually it can cause death by multiple organ failure or brain nerve dysfunction, The Guardian reported.
“Of the hundred or so toxic mushrooms that are known to researchers, this is the only one in which the toxins can be absorbed through the skin,” Barrett said
“The fact that we can find such a distinctive and medically important fungus like poison coral right in our backyard shows we have much to learn about fungi in northern Australia.”
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