Mycological Progress

, Volume 11, Issue 4, pp 937–945 | Cite as

Trogia venenata (Agaricales), a novel poisonous species which has caused hundreds of deaths in southwestern China

  • Zhu L. Yang
  • Y. C. Li
  • L. P. Tang
  • G. Q. Shi
  • G. Zeng
Original Article


About 400 unexplained sudden deaths have occurred in Yunnan Province in southwestern China during summers over the last 35 years. Extensive field investigations revealed that a fungus called “little white mushroom” or “nail-like mushroom” by the local people could be one of the chief causes. Fieldwork showed that this fungus is a common saprophytic species growing on rotten wood in southwestern, central, and northwestern Yunnan in subtropical mountainous areas between 1,700 and 3,000 m altitude. Morphological and molecular phylogenetic analyses revealed that it is a new species of the genus Trogia, closely related to the palaeotropical T. infundibuliformis and its allies. Accordingly, T. venenata is described and illustrated.


Poisonous mushroom Wood-rotting fungi Taxonomy Phylogeny Distribution 



The authors are very grateful to Dr. Robert E. Fontaine, the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (China CDC) and United States CDC, and Dr. Kathryn E. Bushley (Department of Botany and Plant Pathology, Oregon State University) for improving the English. This study was supported by the National Basic Research Program of China (No. 2009CB522300), the Joint Funds of the National Natural Science Foundation of China and Yunnan Provincial Government (No. U0836604), Scientific Research Special Funds of the Ministry of Health, China (200802002) and the Hundred Talents Program of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.


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Copyright information

© German Mycological Society and Springer 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Zhu L. Yang
    • 1
  • Y. C. Li
    • 1
  • L. P. Tang
    • 1
  • G. Q. Shi
    • 2
  • G. Zeng
    • 2
  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Biodiversity and Biogeography, Kunming Institute of BotanyChinese Academy of SciencesKunmingChina
  2. 2.Chinese Field Epidemiology Training ProgramChinese Center for Disease Control and PreventionBeijingChina

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