Appears in

Oxford Companion to Food

Oxford Companion to Food

By Alan Davidson

Published 2014

  • About

toadstool an imprecise term which usually denotes an inedible or toxic fungus, has a long history. As Ramsbottom (1953) points out, mushroom and toadstool appear to have been synonymous terms in the 16th century. Thus we hear from Henry Lyte (A niewe Herbal, 1578) of someone being ‘sicke with eating of Venimous Tadstooles or Mousherons’. But the very name toadstool suggests something nasty, and it is not surprising that of the two terms it was the one which, for English-speaking people, came to refer to undesirable fungi.