These three mushrooms may include both harmless and deadly species. It is not impossible that all three may be poisonous.
The Amanita genus of mushrooms contains the most-often-found poison mushrooms among the local flora. You can bet that if you find a mushroom with white gills, white spores, a ring on the stem and a cup at the bottom, you must beware. Although there are some non-poisonous mushrooms with these features, the innocent ones may be easily confused with the deadly species. My picture of the three mushrooms illustrates the confusing similarity of the species within the genus Amanita.
All in all, a microscopic study of a given mushroom is needed to positively identify certain look-alike so-called toadstools. Experts have developed over years of experience unique ways to identify edible mushrooms. However, even these experts admit that extreme caution should be undertaken before eating a questionable species.
Also see this illustration in larger format, and more mushrooms.
Copyright © 2007 William T. Hathaway.