Fungi foragers are being warned to avoid poisonous wild mushrooms in the Macedon Ranges.

With mushroom season in full swing, the Victorian health department issued the alert last week.

Fungi expert Alison Pouliot said one of Victoria’s most dangerous varieties, the yellow staining mushroom, had popped up in Mount Macedon in recent months.

“I ran a series of foraging workshops recently and all nine of the mushrooms I collected off nature strips were yellow staining,” she said.

The most dangerous of the varieties is the death cap mushroom. While it is more commonly found in metropolitan areas, Ms Pouliot did not rule out their existence in the Ranges.

She said that although some fungi varieties were harmful to humans, they played a vital role in balancing ecosystems and needed protection.

Victorian chief health officer professor Charles Guest warned residents to avoid gathering wild mushrooms in rural Victoria and harvesting from their own gardens because of the risk of collecting poisonous varieties that might appear very similar to edible varieties.

“While commercially sold mushrooms are safe, poisonings can occur when people gathering wild mushrooms inadvertently include toxic species,” Professor Guest said.

“Anyone who becomes ill after eating mushrooms should seek urgent medical advice and, if possible, take samples of the whole mushroom for identification.”