Observation 161439: Mixed collection

When: 2014-03-12

Collection location: Observatory, Johannesburg, South Africa [Click for map]

Who: kerrya

No specimen available


Specimens varied in size from about 2cm to the monster on the dining-room chair, which was about 27cm.
120314 collection.jpg
Specimens varied in size from about 2cm to the monster on the dining-room chair, which was about 27cm.
Specimens varied in size from about 2cm to the monster on the dining-room chair, which was about 27cm.
140312_mixed young.jpg
Specimens varied in size from about 2cm to the monster on the dining-room chair, which was about 27cm.

Proposed Names

-20% (2)
Used references: Sasol field guide and Levin et al’s guide
72% (3)
Recognized by sight

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Done and dusted.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-03-16 17:31:26 CET (+0100)

In the US state of New Jersey, I estimate that over a third of the species of Amanita (alone) are undescribed. For the world, more than half of the amanitas are probably undescribed. For Africa, the percentage is probably higher still. Genetic studies are presently raising the percentage of unknowns across the board by revealing that species we thought were well-defined are actually a mixture of taxa we didn’t recognize that appear to be separable by their genes.

Doing mycology is like trying to catch up with a nineteenth century science that lost several decades due to widespread uneven understanding of morphological methodology and now has to cope with modern genetics while the latter grows like topsy.

Very best,


To get to any page for a specific species on www.amanitaceae.org (WAO),…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-03-16 17:23:48 CET (+0100)

…enter a URL as follows:

http://www.amanitaceae.org? ….. then on the same line type the name of the species.

For example, for Amanita nauseosa, type


The “+” symbol is necessary to make a workable link from MO; however, a blank space will work when you are on the WAO website.

Alternatively, go to the directory for the list of all amanitas (in alphabetical order) and click on the species you desire.

The directory pages for a tree are organized as follows:

From the homepage (on the left hand side in the set of navigational links), select “Family Amanitaceae”. On that page you can choose between Genus Amanita and Genus Limacella.

To get more information about the structure of the site (which takes the form of a current hypothesis of the taxonomic structure of the family), go to the “about” pages…particularly the page entitled “About the Amanita family”. This is also listed in the list of basic navigation links on the left hand side of the home page.

You may also be interested in the list of known amanitas from sub-Saharan Africa which can be found here:


The editors try very hard to keep the site up to date and are always glad to get comments, observations, suggestions, corrections, tips, questions, etc.

Very best,


By: kerrya
2014-03-15 18:37:42 CET (+0100)

Thanks, Rod, especially for the specific links. I spent a few hours trawling around amanitaceae.org yesterday, but didn’t come across the pages you recommended; I suppose it helps if you know what you are looking for :)

I collected at least four other types of amanita yesterday, but needed the bag space for my super-haul of boletes, so will go back and collect some more another time.

I’m honestly amazed that many of our mushrooms haven’t been named/documented/classified – I would have thought it was all done and dusted by now, barring a few ultra-rare species.

Unfortunately, our field guides are very limited (and more than a little dated). I know of only one other that I don’t possess, but it has been out of print for a good twenty years, and I haven’t managed to locate a copy (I think my brother-in-law would notice if I stole his), which is a shame, as it is far more comprehensive than any other I have seen.

I’ll have another shot at amanitaceae.org when I get samples of the other specimens I mentioned earlier. Thanks again for the help.

Your description of the habitat in which you collected the material suggests that you have…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-03-15 17:14:57 CET (+0100)

…one of the South African amanitas that is “free-living”…lives on grass-clippings and such and doesn’t have a symbiotic partner (tree).

If you go to this site


you will find that there are several amanitas from open grassy areas in South Africa that may not be in your field guides (A. foetidissima, A. pleropus, A. praeclara, A. roseolescens, and A. veldiei among those that have been given namnes). They appear on the following web pages:






Allenic norleucine is a toxin that is very damaging to the kidney and liver and can shut both down. Recoveries occur after a very unpleasant experience lasting a long time. Allenic norleucine-like symptoms (shut down of kidney and liver) have been reported from mushrooms that are of the same group as those above. I have personally been involved in such cases including one case with A. nauseosa, which is very, very similar to the South African A. foetidissima mentioned in the above list.

Most field guides are not intended to be complete references. And, while a few amanitas have been imported to Africa from Europe, Australia, etc., the vast majority of African amanitas (south of the Sahara) are indigenous to your continent and many are likely to be unknown to science at present.


Rod Tulloss

Strobiliformis in both my field guides…
By: kerrya
2014-03-15 14:45:00 CET (+0100)

That being said, I’m not sure, and I agree I probably have 2 different taxa here. The notes below pertain to all the shrooms in the pictures, bar the very large one. It was collected in the same area, but not by me.
The mushrooms were collected on an open field at a nearby school, often used as a soccer, hockey or cricket pitch. They were loosely grouped, and each group was a couple of metres from the plane trees that grew on the edges of the field.

The caps were sticky on picking, but dried shortly thereafter. The stems and some of the caps left white scales on my fingers, particularly the stem area near the cap. They were very white while growing, changing to a more buff colour after picking. The skins on the caps also started to lift at the edges, which you can see in the photograph of the collection. A ring is also noticeable, though I didn’t see a volva at all when harvesting. The stems detached themselves in the bag (none of the other species I have collected have dropped their stems so easily). The grey speckles on the caps looked to be a mildew of some description.

The mushrooms had a white spore print, and a very strong mushroomy odour. The jury seems to be out on whether they are edible or not, as both my field guides say yes, but “the internet” says no. One of the field guides does, however, point out that the odour does not diminish with cooking. When tasting a tiny piece, there was a slight tingling in my mouth, and a bitter aftertaste on my tongue and in my throat, even though I didn’t swallow any of it. Say what you will about old or bold :)

Amanita strobiliformis is unlikely in South Africa.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-03-15 12:17:25 CET (+0100)

You seem to have two taxa involved. The first image might be a species of Chlorophyllum or Macrolepiota. The other images could be an Amanita. Since the the first species probably grows in a lawn without any nearby trees that serve as symbionts, it strikes me that your amanita-like species might also be growing in a lawn or on a golf course or football pitch. Was that the case? If so, then there is a chance that the possible amanita is one of the small number of amanitas that group on cellulose (lawn clippings, for example) and don’t for symbiotic relationships with trees.

Did you notice a strong odor from the amanita-like material?

Very best,

Rod Tulloss

Created: 2014-03-15 09:35:02 CET (+0100)
Last modified: 2014-04-13 22:56:13 CEST (+0200)
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