Observation 145313: Amanita muscaria subsp. flavivolvata Singer

When: 2013-09-02

Collection location: Geiger Lakes, Montana, USA [Click for map]

Who: Drew Parker (mycotrope)

No specimen available



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geographic subspecies
By: Erlon (Herbert Baker)
2013-09-22 19:28:39 CDT (-0500)

Some systematists recognize geographical replacement forms as sub-species or even full species; even when they overlap at their boundaries. There is clearly a geographic pattern in regards to the red vs. yellow forms of Amanita muscaria subsp. flavivolvata.

I wish…
By: Drew Parker (mycotrope)
2013-09-13 11:15:37 CDT (-0500)

I had known of your interest in these white forms when I was there. It’s problematic making collections when backpacking so I usually don’t. I carried no fungi out of Geiger, just photographs.

I do have a collection of a white muscaria from northeast Washington dated 2005. If it would be useful I would send it. I’ll keep you in mind should I run across any new material.

All interesting stuff, Drew.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-09-13 10:52:32 CDT (-0500)

Thanks for your response.

I’m quite serious about looking for material with which to sort out the taxonomic and name issues mentioned in earlier comments.

Very best,


At Geiger Lakes…
By: Drew Parker (mycotrope)
2013-09-13 10:29:28 CDT (-0500)

muscarioid Amanitas were common at both lakes and in between. There were orange-red, white and some pale yellow ones. In a couple of cases the red and white versions were within a stones throw of each other as were this obs with my other white obs #145312.

An interesting aside is that in the Geiger lakes area, the dominant tree species was mountain hemlock, unusual in my hiking experience in the northern Rockies. Also there were more huckleberries than I’ve ever encountered in the mountains.

The yellow-orange, white, and red color forms of…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-09-13 10:23:17 CDT (-0500)

(Oh, here we go, what do we call it…) Amanita muscaria subsp. flavivolvata (aka A. muscaria var. guessowii) did not differ significantly and formed a single large clade in Dr. Jozsef Geml et al.’s 2008 multi-gene tree. Dr. Geml has continued to work with samples forwarded to him from additional locations throughout the U.S. and Canada; and THE PICTURE IS NOT CHANGING. Even though these color variants do not exist side by side in any place of which we know, they appear to make up a single species. There is no clade of yellow caps that is separated from the clade as a whole (for example).

What is the weak link in the picture? White-capped collections that appear to be “muscarioid.”

There are two names for taxa that fit that general description: A. chrysoblema and A. muscaria var. __alba. Both are described from North America. The first from Michigan and the second from New York state. On morphological grounds, Jenkins thought that the two names were taxonomic synonyms. Since the types are old by current sequencing standards, we are unlikely to settle the set of related questions by sequencing the type collections.

What are the possibilities? Let’s focus on collections from the central plains eastward in Canada and the U.S. (because this is where the relevant types come from). If, after due diligence, we find that we have only one genetically defined taxon of white muscarioid in this geographic region, then we could (1) propose that Jenkins correctly assessed the two names as taxonomic synonyms. (2) We could select a single collection as epitype for both Amanita chrysoblema and A. muscaria var. alba. (3) There would be only one name at species rank for the group of color variants of the single species. (4) The name for all the mushroom of all the color variants would be A. chrysoblema.

Of course, if we don’t get a single entity, then more work is necessary (e.g., morphologically and genetically segregating all of the set of taxa found).

Simultaneously, we could examine white muscarioid from west of the above-defined region and examine that group to see if more than one taxon can be detected genetically. We have plenty of data from Jozsef Geml’s work (and more will be coming to GenBank in the near future). Comparisons between the sequences from taxa of the big (what do we say?) muscaria subsp. flavivolvata clade and new sequences of white muscarioids can easily be carried out.

Since Dr. Geml is actively working on this and related issues in collaboration with me, I suggest that the participants in MO inundate me with white-capped muscariod material from (DIFFERENT, PLEASE) localities. Naomi and I will sort through this material and sample it for Dr. Geml. We will send the material to Dr. Geml and support him in anyway that he and I agree are useful. Our goal will be to get a clear understanding of the situation to the degree possible and to stabilize a name for our multi-colored, North American muscarioid.

It all looked so simple…until we realized that there was a name at species rank referring to a white-capped entity that has not been often collected/reported in the range from which it was described. It’s not a nest of snakes. But there are a few worms that won’t lie down and solve the problem for us.

This comment is in fact an APPEAL for documented, well-dried, recently-collected, white muscarioid material.

Very best,


when I have found white muscaria…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2013-09-13 09:27:05 CDT (-0500)

here in the Sierra, in Idaho, Washington state and Oregon, they are never with red forms.

This is very different from how we find, say, white velosas, a very common color morph, which are always found alongside normal forms.

Could this white “muscaria” actually be a separate species?

Can you tell us anything about the proximity (in the Geiger Lakes area) of your collections…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2013-09-13 08:26:54 CDT (-0500)

of the red-capped and white-capped muscarioid mushrooms that you are posting today?

Very best,

Rod Tulloss

Created: 2013-09-12 23:28:54 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2013-09-13 08:25:16 CDT (-0500)
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