Found throughout the Northern Hemisphere angel wing gets its
name firstly from how it looks and secondly because eating it
gives a good chance of sending you heaven-bound.
The angel wing was at one time considered edible and it seems
that for many years there were no reported poisonings from
eating it. That changed in 2004 when nearly 60 people became
ill after eating them across Japan. Out of these 17 died during
the following six weeks.
In a further case in 2009 a 65-year-old man died of enceph-
alopathy (brain disease) after eating angel wings. It is worth
pointing out that many of those who died had pre-existing kid-
ney or liver problems.
The mode of toxicity isn’t well understood in this fungus but a
unique amino acid has been identified that kills the brain cells
of lab animals. It is also possible that the fungus contains ele-
vated levels of cyanide.