Observation 136657: Amanita bisporigera group

I found two of these growing close together near the base of a hickory tree in the Ozark foothills of Butler County Missouri.

Proposed Names

-12% (2)
Recognized by sight: Beautiful white mushroom emerging from large white sac.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-28 23:16:05 EDT (-0400)

I did not see that one coming.


Very best,


Hello, John. [EDITED]
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-28 23:10:51 EDT (-0400)

Oh, you don’t know that, while I have worked on Amanita for about 35 years, the earliest of those years overlapped with my having a job as an electronic engineer/researcher at Bell Laboratories. Communications was an immense part of my career.

My first published paper on Amanita mutabilis came in the early 1980s when I had been with the labs for a little over a decade. I retired in 1996 (early) to spend my time on mycology.

Things haven’t worked out quite as I hoped. (I spent about 7 years founding beginning in 1998, managing and/or working for a non-profit to preserve the farmland and open space in the little town where I lived.) I have never had a job for which I had any significant training or experience…with the exception of reading, writing, public speaking, and the willingness to make mistakes and ask lots of dumb questions so I could learn the job. I have been terribly lucky to have had some wonderful mentors in areas where I wanted to learn as much as I could. The late Dr. Cornelis Bas (Leiden, the Netherlands) was an extraordinarily generous, kind, and wise mentor who (by letter for most of our acquaintance and they by email) taught me and aided me through my earlier mistakes in mycology. We were very close friends.

Very best,


T Rod again: Amanitas metaphors
By: Sam.Schaperow (SamSchaperow)
2013-06-28 19:59:51 EDT (-0400)

Contains B5 spoilers and metaphors leading back to this MO:

Rod, you know, the conversation we’re having holds many metaphors for A. bisporigera. Broadly, the destroying angel, and the angel theme of Vorlons, angel, but consider what their ultimate ship did (insane lvs of destruction). Then the telepaths and how the connect to Vorlon: Talia Winters (T. winters) was genetically modified. T. winters, then, was GMO. The Psi Corps made matters even more complicated through mind alteration (this was the amatoxin).

Now, probably the most direct metaphor is T. winters is the greatest danger of A. bisporigera, a misidentification. What causes death by these mushrooms is misidentification. Before a person gets good enough at identifying it compared to lookalikes, they can be susceptible to being destroyed. No one, including T. winters, knew of the Psi Corps alteration. In fact, she almost killed an important person. Had they been able to analyze her w/precision, they could have lowered this risk.

Me as well…
By: John McDonough
2013-06-28 19:25:06 EDT (-0400)

As a engineer many times in discussions with others I suffer the same longing as you have expressed.

Obviously you are a expert in your field and it is hard sometimes, or one fails to realize that others may not be where you are at.
I wrote several training syllabuses regarding this very issue, I see no harm in sharing information from them with you.

I will email you my thoughts.


I would welcome suggestions on how I could do a better job of communicating.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-28 17:38:27 EDT (-0400)

It’s something very important to me.

Very best,


Thats ok Dr. R
By: John McDonough
2013-06-28 17:20:59 EDT (-0400)

“I wonder if anyone knows what we’re talking about?”

I “wonder” every time I have a conversation with you!

I acknowledge my mistake, Sam.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-28 17:00:34 EDT (-0400)

Do I remember correctly that in real life the actors playing Talia and Garibaldi were married and that had something to do with Talia having to be “killed off” in the show? Well actually taken away by the the Psy Corps to be dissected or something equally terrible. End of character.

I wonder if anyone knows what we’re talking about? Maybe we’ve had our fun and should not trip out on B5 on Nathan’s nickle here on MO.


reply to Rod:
By: Sam.Schaperow (SamSchaperow)
2013-06-28 16:34:27 EDT (-0400)

The ultimate Vorlon weapon was Lyta, though Talia could have been it if the actress remained w/the show.

By: John McDonough
2013-06-28 16:22:41 EDT (-0400)

you never cease to amaze me; flycatcher? who would have guessed that!
You wouldn’t happen to have a flea circus and a ant farm as well would you?

I got a nice rain before daylight this morning, I am hopeful that some more precious gems will appear soon.
Hot and humid seems to bring out the strangest of things…….

Cool, Britt.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-28 15:45:42 EDT (-0400)


About those odors…
By: Britt Bunyard (Fungi magazine) (bbunyard)
2013-06-28 15:26:30 EDT (-0400)

…oh yeah, the amatoxin-containing Amanitas definitely have a characteristic smell, oh my yes! My cellar (and to some extent the upstairs too, sometimes) very commonly has this smell as I’m always rearing mycophagous Diptera out of them, and collected from all over N America. The smell is exactly as has been discussed below. It’s not terribly foul, but not exactly good. Of course the Lepidellas have their own brand of smells as do the caesar-types (their smell’s more fishy). Much of the bouquet of degrading organic material is due to the breakdown of proteins into primary amines (for example spermaceous smells from spermine and others). Many organisms make their living by being really really good at sniffing out such odors…including the very mycophagous flies that I pursue.

Sam, [Alert: “Babylon 5” character, plot, and script references]
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-27 13:47:36 EDT (-0400)

It took me a good five minutes of reading through the comments on this page before I got the reference to Talia. I hope that you do not come to find out that your daughter is anything like the “one big weapon” that is used when all the smaller weapons fail.

Very best,


P.S. to Rod:
By: Sam.Schaperow (SamSchaperow)
2013-06-27 11:33:39 EDT (-0400)

My 1st daughter’s name is Talia.

By: Sam.Schaperow (SamSchaperow)
2013-06-22 21:58:58 EDT (-0400)

Given our present technology, I’d recommend odor is useful in the following ways:
One is to have numerous people smell it and when a consensus is formed on how it is described, we can use that description.
Another is mushroom clubs can have dried deadly Amanitas and have people smell them. Even w/o a descriptor, we can learn the smell, and then use it to help detect mature/dried deadly Amanitas w/that smell. It then becomes a useful tool in identification w/this basic training.

The topic is interesting, for I just was posting to MT about smell, but instead of focusing on the differences in smells of mushrooms and plants, I focused on the commonalities (http://tech.groups.yahoo.com/...).

Forests and trees…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-22 13:39:47 EDT (-0400)

a problem in every walk of life.


By: John McDonough
2013-06-22 13:29:52 EDT (-0400)

they give off a unmistakable odor will being dehydrated, especially in a confined space. I would describe it as similar to decaying mammal flesh clinging to or mixed with a sweet aroma. Not really something you want to get used to:)

There are several species of fungi that I can smell in the woods, mature Laetiporus cincinnatus and decaying Boletus sp’s are easily detected from downwind.

I am happy you like the specimens I sent you. If I get another rain I will be on the hunt for some more in good condition to send your way. Right now I am having trouble seeing the Amanita’s (forest) for the Chantrelles (trees).

I should also note that, the apparent situation… [EDIT]
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-22 13:05:20 EDT (-0400)

of their being multiple “proposed barcode” sequences coming from samples of things originally labeled bisporigera might seem discouraging with regard to separation of species by odor. Separation of a group of toxic species by odor, at the moment, seems possible. But I want a nose directly connected to a machine that detects and sorts out aromatic compounds.


Oh, brother, do they ever.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-22 12:58:14 EDT (-0400)

When the amatoxin containing amanitas of eastern North America (I’m being specific because these are the ones that I have smelled the most in the last 35 years) get to maturity and beyond they begin to have an odor which is very similar to the odor they have when dried. The odor has variations, but I can smell it from an automobile driving through a forest with a goodly cluster of these entities near the roadway. The first time I ever found Amanita phalloides in the eastern states, I was driving down a road on which I had been told they would be found in a stand of white pine that had been intentionally planted (perhaps during the depression). As I drove down the road I suddenly detected an odor that is both sweet and sickening…like a decaying animal. The french say it is like decaying honey. I got out of the car and found phalloides at my feet. When material similar to that of the bisporigera group is old or dried the odor is very similar, and similarly cloying; however, I think there is a piquant or bitter element in phalloides that is not present in bisporigera.

I could very well be drawing too fine a point. And it is possible that some of the decaying protein smells of the lepidellas might be close to the smells of the destroying angels. I can distinguish distinctive smells among the lepidellas, but the English language and the fundamental problem of translating between humans with regard to descriptions of odor are such fundamental difficulties that I don’t expect that we will be able to overcome the problem without smell-o-tricorders in the future. Humans need some grounds for sharing odor data short of telepathy which doesn’t seem to be happening at the moment.

We could try to attract the Vorlons, but they would only use our telepaths for cannon fodder in their ancient misconceived battle with the Shadows. I’d rather not go their.

So I try to say what smells I detect. I try to do it as graphically as possible hoping that a few words will transmit something of my sensation.

Hoping against hope, I fear.

Very best,


odor; dried
By: Sam.Schaperow (SamSchaperow)
2013-06-22 12:22:27 EDT (-0400)

Do they have a distinctive odor? If so, could it be useful for identification once learned?

Sam Schaperow, M.S.

Thank you, John.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-06-22 11:00:32 EDT (-0400)

I opened your bag and got the immediate odor of dried destroying angels. Wooof.
Thank you for taking the trouble to ship the material in a box.

The material is accessioned in our herbarium and will be scheduled to be sampled for our sequencing study of the things that get called A. bisporigera in eastern North America.

Thank you for your on-going support of our research and of the WAO website.

Very best,


By: John McDonough
2013-06-17 07:13:53 EDT (-0400)

Yes sir it is.

free from stipe?
By: Sam.Schaperow (SamSchaperow)
2013-06-16 21:58:59 EDT (-0400)

Is the volval sack free from the stipe?

Created: 2013-06-16 21:24:23 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2018-01-02 22:53:31 EST (-0500)
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