What Is Stinkweed?

Stinkweed (Capsella capensis) is a weed native to southern Europe and Asia. It grows wild throughout the United States from Florida to California. It was introduced into North America in 1868 when it was accidentally brought over from Europe. Capsella capensis has been used medicinally since ancient times, but its use as a recreational drug is new.

It is not known exactly how stinky it smells, but it is usually described as having a strong musty or moldy odor. Some people say they have no reaction to it at all, while others report that they experience nausea and vomiting after exposure. Other effects include headache, dizziness, and muscle aches. People with certain medical conditions are more likely to suffer negative side effects from stinky weed than those without them.

How Does It Affect You?

The most common adverse reactions to stinky weed are nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and stomach cramps. If you eat it, your body may become bloated and sick. Eating stinky weed can cause a rash on the skin. Other symptoms include headaches, fatigue, fever, chills or shivers down the spine and muscles. Symptoms last up to two days after ingestion of stinky weed.

Who Should Avoid Stinkweed?

Stinky weed should not be eaten if you have liver or kidney disease, cancer, or a neurological disease. Stinky weed can interact with some drugs and cause potentially life-threatening side effects. Pregnant women should avoid eating stinky weed as it may cause harm to the fetus. Stinky weed can increase heart rate and blood pressure so people with heart or blood pressure conditions should avoid it. It also may interact with sedatives.

How To Avoid Eating It?

There is no known treatment for eating stinky weed, but activated charcoal can help absorb any that is still in your digestive system. If you think you have eaten stinky weed, get medical attention right away.

What Happens If You Eat it?

If you eat stinky weed, you will experience symptoms as described above. They will start within a few minutes and may last up to 2 days.

Do Not Eat Stinky Weed?

It is NOT a good idea to eat stinky weed even if you are in an area where it grows wild. The negative effects of eating stinky weed may be severe and long-lasting. You should also not try to self-medicate with it if you are extremely tired, have a fever or think you might have a serious medical condition. Instead, contact a medical professional.

Where Does It Grow?

It is native to southern Europe and Asia but grows wild throughout North America, in pastures, fields, lawns and along roadsides. It also grows in moist areas and wetlands. It is usually found in clumps or patches scattered here and there.

Is it a Good Food Source?

Stinky weed is edible but not everyone can tolerate the smell and taste of it. It’s also not a very nutritious food source.

Is it Edible?

Most people can eat stinky weed and not experience any ill effects. However, you might experience nausea, diarrhea or stomach cramps. Eating a lot of it may cause a rash to develop on your skin.

Is it Poisonous?

Eating stinky weed will cause no immediate harm. The problem is that stinky weed contains a chemical called organ pipe which can cause serious illness in some people. It can even be deadly.

What to do if you think you have eaten it?

Do not try to treat yourself. It may be hard to get medical help right away so it is best not to wait until the symptoms become worse before getting help.

How Serious is the Problem?

The symptoms of organ pipe toxicity can be serious and may require hospitalization. People who have liver or kidney disease, a respiratory disease or a weakened immune system are at greater risk of developing problems. Most people experience nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, diarrhea and fatigue within 6-12 hours of eating stinky weed. More severe symptoms may develop such as fever, chills, confusion, muscle and joint pain, and a decreased urination.

Can You Die From Eating It?

Yes, organ pipe toxicity can be life-threatening but it is rare. Most people recover fully within a week without any lasting problems. Severe symptoms or complications may require a hospital stay.

What is the Treatment?

There is no specific antidote for organ pipe toxicity but medical treatment can help relieve the symptoms and make you more comfortable. People who have eaten stinky weed and developed only minor symptoms can usually recover at home but should be watched for worsening symptoms. More severe cases may require a hospital stay to give the patient fluids, medications or additional nutrients through an IV.

What If You Inhaled The Smoke?

Severe symptoms are rare from inhaling the smoke but they can occur. They are similar to the symptoms caused by eating stinky weed but more severe. People may also experience coughing, wheezing and chest pain.

What If You Ingested The Juice?

Injecting or injecting the juice into your veins can lead to severe symptoms that can be life-threatening.

What Should You Do?

If you think you have eaten, inhaled or injected stinky weed you should get medical help right away. Tell the medical staff what you ate and ingested so they can give you the right treatment.

What is Stinky Weed?

Stinky weed is also known as stinkhorn, phalloides, ascarisyntrópico, fools pepper and hedhover.

It is a fungus that grows in clumps of greenish-brown mushrooms with a cap and stem. The cap is 1 to 3 inches (2.5 to 7.5 cm) wide and it has a stalk.

The stalk is hollow and can measure 5 to 12 inches (12.5 to 30.5 cm) high.

The mushroom can be found in most parts of the world but it is most common in temperate areas. It grows in mulch and grassy areas mostly after a period of rain.

The mushroom is not generally considered edible for humans. It is often found near poisonous mushrooms and it has the same toxic compound as other poisonous fungi. These substances, known as amatoxins, can cause severe illness or death.


The species of fungi was mentioned as early as 1570 by Italian physician and mycologist Gaspare Boscaino. He called it the “Agarico Pezone”, which means the “mushroom of the foot of the Devil” or “Devil’s mushroom”. In 1780, another mycologist named Johann Friedrich Gmelin called it “Agaricus phalloides”.

The term stinky was first used in the English language during the early-19th century to describe the smell of the fungus when it was crushed. The name stinkhorn is believed to come from a German word that means “fire rose”.

Due to its smell and poisonous nature, handling this mushroom has been responsible for many deaths throughout history.

Sources & references used in this article:

The Effect of Food Plants on the Development of the Pale Western Cutworm (Agrotis Orthogonia Morr.) by HL Seamans, E McMillan – Journal of Economic Entomology, 1935 – academic.oup.com

Acetolactate synthase inhibitor-resistant stinkweed (Thlaspi arvense L.) in Alberta by HJ Beckie, LM Hall, FJ Tardif… – … journal of plant …, 2007 – NRC Research Press

Two years of transgenic flax field tests: What do they tell us? by GL Godel – Proceedings, World’s Grain Exposition and Conference …, 1933

Occurrence of Beet western yellows virus and its aphid vectors in over-summering broad-leafed weeds and volunteer crop plants in the grainbelt region of south … by GH Clark, J Fletcher – 1909 – Ottawa



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