Observation 103112: Amanita protecta Tulloss & G. Wright
When: 2012-04-07
Who: Byrain
Herbarium specimen reported

Notes: Found growing in very rocky ground alongside a horse trail under oaks and cottonwoods. The volva and UV remnants on the cap stain yellow to orange, the gills dried pinkish.

The spores are guttulate in KOH, but non-guttulate in melzers, I also observed 4-spored basidia.

Spore range = 11 – 12 (14) x 9 – 10 (11) μ
Average spore = 11.87 × 9.83 μ
Q range = 1.1 – 1.33
Average Q = 1.21
15 spores measured.


Spores, 1000x, mounted in melzers, 1 µ divisions
Spores, 1000x, mounted in KOH, 1 µ divisions

Proposed Names

75% (2)
Recognized by sight: Gray cap, thick UV becoming orange, gray pattern on stipe. And (almost?) always growing with willow.

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Thanks Byrain,
By: groundhog
2015-01-13 14:47:03 CST (-0500)

We have received this material and accessioned it to Rod’s herbarium, It has been scheduled for DNA sequencing.

Re: Willow
By: Byrain
2015-01-09 12:14:31 CST (-0500)

Both places I have seen it have been riparian oak woodlands, there could of been willow, I don’t recall it though. I will certainly look for it next time I’m in the area.

Ret: The divisions are 1 µm.

no one is arguing that it can sometimes occur with willow.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2015-01-09 10:58:42 CST (-0500)

you have clearly shown that in collections among pure stands, and I appreciate the extension of our range and associate tree data. But it is preposterous to claim that it only or primarily occurs with willow. when it occurs In a mixed woodland. The ONLY way to know what tree is a MR associate is to look at the MR nodes. UC Berkeley does this all the time.

Why not test your theory?

I have definitely found protecta in areas without any willow. Willow is always associated with water. Protecta is often found in more xeric environments in central and southern CA. The PNW of course is another ballgame; not xeric at all.

I did find protecta in a mixed forest delta bottomland a couple of years ago, under both oak and willow. But there was absolutely no way to show just what tree that mycelia was hooked up with, without a shovel and a DNA lab.

Yes, Willow.
By: Noah Siegel (Noah)
2015-01-09 02:39:40 CST (-0500)

Look for it next time you find A. protecta. I have, and the 30+ places I have seen this species, it has been there.

I went to Stunt Canyon, the type location of this species. I don’t know exactly where is was collect, but I did see A. protecta, growing under oaks along a riparian area with willow shrubs interspersed in the understory. Another referenced site in the Tulloss-Wright paper was Los Prietos Campground; a beautiful spot, with some beautiful oak forest. Oh yeah, it’s also on a river, with tons of Willow interspersed.

If you want to find this mushroom in coastal Humboldt County where there is no oak, no pine in most areas; it’s easy to do. Head to the swamps; to the foredune hollows, to the river edges, where Willow grows. If you want to see this mushroom in the Central Valley, look for oak, then look for the water source, and the willow. If you want to see this mushroom around Santa Cruz, head to the willow patches. It’s at Point Reyes too, under the Willow in the swamps near the fault zone.

Oh course we check on what those before us have observed, and we add to it what we have observed. The fact is, it’s easy to see the oak tree, it’s hard to see the willow. Generally it’s a small shrub, with no leaves with the Amanita is fruiting. Until Christian and I found it with Willow a few years ago, with NO other trees around, and then re-found it again and again with Willow, with and without other trees around, did we come to the conclusion that this mushroom is almost ALWAYS with Willow.

I encourage you to go back to the places you have found it in the past, and, with an open mind, look for the Willow. I’m willing to bet, it will be there.

In the image of spores at 1000x, what is the width of the smallest division on…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-01-09 00:14:21 CST (-0500)

the eyepiece micrometer?

448 spore measurements from 22 individual specimens from 13 collections (from WAO) are here:

[448/22/13] (8.7-) 9.5 – 13.0 (-20.5) × (7.3-) 8.7 – 11.5 (-16.2) µm, (L = 10.3 – 12.3 (-12.4) µm; L’ = 11.2 µm; W = (9.0-) 9.1 – 10.8 (-11.2) µm; W’ = 9.9 µm; Q = (1.0-) 1.03 – 1.27 (-1.43); Q = (1.07-) 1.10 – 1.19; Q’ = 1.14).

Very best,


I see that there is a dried specimen.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-01-08 23:53:22 CST (-0500)

Is anyone offering to sequence it? If not, I would be willing to arrange it.

Very best,


Just look for the willow
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2015-01-08 23:17:35 CST (-0500)

if there are cottonwoods, that could be the host as well – it is in the same family as willow.

I saw A. protecta a lot near oaks in San Diego when I lived there, but it was almost always in riparian corridors where willow was present. I didn’t know to look for it, so the impression that it was an oak associate stayed in my head til I saw it in pure willow patches in San Mateo and Santa Cruz counties.

I’m not going to say it’s a strict willow associate, but yeah… look for the willow.

he he
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2015-01-08 22:52:12 CST (-0500)

really? almost always with willow?

does anyone check what those who came before have done, or is it just every person for themselves, newly discovering the wheel?

until you and Christian found protecta with willow a few years ago, I believe that all of those other collections before you were under oak and sometimes pine. Certainly the several times that I have found it, it was with oak, and it is documented with both oak and pine on Mykoweb. Arora calls it a “oak loving grisette of Southern and central CA;” others have found it with pine. Like many amanitas, it no doubt has multiple hosts.

We can add willow to that list with your obsies, but that hardly is the only place or even primary place where it is found in Central CA.

I think they may occur in more places that we give them credit for, but c’mon, you certainly weren’t the first finder and willow was an unusual habitat to find them for most of us.

By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2012-07-29 21:12:35 CDT (-0400)

I saw that there was no dried materia in this case, and so I didn’t think that situation could be resolved in case of a debate. I think Noah was responding to the ochraceous staining of the volva. I wouldn’t have a different suggestion, but I’d want to check some microscopic characters before feeling confident in an ID…


Created: 2012-07-27 16:16:03 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-08-02 00:31:41 CDT (-0400)
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