Observation 181567: Amanita sect. Vaginatae sensu Zhu L. Yang

When: 2014-10-04

Collection location: Serra de Montejunto, Portugal [Click for map]

Who: zaca

Specimen available

Growing under chestnuts.
While the prodominant colour in the specimens of observation 181564 was brown, in this collection it is grey. But there other notorious differences: the stem and the volvas are rather different.
Based on my observations of similar material I believe this is close to A. mairei, but this is just a thought.


Other specimens: Caps;
Other specimens: Stems and volvas.
Microscopy: Spores;
Microscopy: Basidia;
Microscopy: Pileipellis.
Sp2 – Grayish tones on stem and volva.

Proposed Names

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
Thanks Zaca,
By: groundhog
2014-10-28 14:06:16 MDT (-0600)

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

2014-10-08 – Material sent.
By: zaca
2014-10-09 07:18:21 MDT (-0600)
Thank you very much, Zaca.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-07 19:36:48 MDT (-0600)


It is always very fruitful …
By: zaca
2014-10-07 18:44:06 MDT (-0600)

having the opportunity to discuss some subject with someone who really dominates the topic under analysis.

Dr. Tulloss, Thanks for spending you time sharing your thoughts about the specimens of this observation.
Kind regards,

P.S.: the material (half of each colected specimen from both observations) will be mailed tomorrow.

All good points. Good, careful thinking.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-07 18:15:48 MDT (-0600)

1st point. That was good drying practice.

2nd point. It has always seemed to me that, when “giant spores” are present, the fruiting body is immature and much of the hymenium is lacking in mature basidia…even lacking in sterigmata. It seems as though some taxa have developed the ability to make potentially “pre-mated” spores with two or four times the normal DNA complement in the spore. Also, sometimes there is something aberrant going on in fruiting bodies that causes the making of abnormally shaped spores. The type colllection of Amanita lactea is very large; and almost all the specimens from which I sampled spores had produced very odd-shaped spores. You have undoubtedly read the description.

3rd point. In microphotographs published by Massart, you can see the broken cells coming up from the pileus surface. They were also obvious in the specimens that I examined. This kind of separation of volva and pileus is not restricted to the Vaginatae. The frosty appearance of the cap in A. aprica is due to the same phenomenon.

4th point. I thought that you would have more knowledge on the subject thatn I do. Thank you for the information.

I’ve enjoyed this discussion.

Very best,


Further notes
By: zaca
2014-10-07 14:25:06 MDT (-0600)

1) First concerning the time after collected for the spores measurements. Here are the dates:
I collected the specimens by lunch time (local time, everywhere) of Saturday.
The drying procedure start some hours later and took place until the mid night that day. The spores were measure on Sunday evening.
So, the spores were measured one and a half days after collected, from dried material.

2) Concerning diemensions of the spores:
I have seen frequently remarks on your website concerning “giant” spores, in particular related to species in Section Vaginatae. The fact is that, in the several collections I have analised, never found such kind of spores. As you mentioned, such spores have a clear influence on the final dimensions, messing everything. How to deal with this problem?

3) Shiny / not shiny cap:
Your explanation seems perfectly plausible

4) Checklist of fungi of Portugal:
To my knowledge there is nothing that we can call by that name. The only thing I know goes back to 2002 (available at: http://www.micobiotas.fc.ul.pt/...), and I have several doubts about its correctness. So, saying that this is the first collection recorded from Portugal is speculative.

Very interesting notes.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-07 13:55:02 MDT (-0600)

The problem with the short list is indeed with the algorithm. The current algorithm is greatly dependent upon the size of the spores in the sample that the user measures. So the fact that your 95th percentile measurements of length were somewhat distant from mine had a negative impact on the results. If a specimen is held undried for several days before spore measurements are made, you could select a condition such as “senile” which assumes that the mushroom is drying up and making smaller spores than what would be “normal” in terms of the data that I collected.

There is another thing that has a bad impact on the data available to the algorithm: When I get a few collections of a given species with giant spores, this can really mess things up for the 95th percentile of our data until our sample size gets big enough to bring the artificially high 95th percentile down. This was big problem for me with several species—-A. lactea and A. magnivolvata come to mind immediately.

Different topic:

One of the reason why huijsmanii isn’t shiny is that the gelatinization (instead of taking place within the pileipellis or at the volva-pileipellis interface) takes place inside the volva (above and away from the cap surface). Hence, light is being reflected from a surface covered by fragments of hyphae and inflated cells that are still connected to the pileipellis instead of reflecting from a shiny surface “lacquered” by drying gelatinized pileipellis goo.

Hence, the appearance of the cap is another argument for your having found huijsmanii. I wonder whether you might not have the first collection recorded from Portugagl. Is that possible?

Very best,


By: zaca
2014-10-07 12:09:23 MDT (-0600)

I was reading the descriptions in WAO site of the species previously mentioned as possibilities for the specimens in this observation: A. argentea, A. huijsmanii and A. mairei.
I agree with RET that one can exclude A. mairei by several reasons, on the basis of the color of the cap, the inexistence of volva remains on the cap and on the form of the stem, just to mention some.
On the other hand, A. argentea seems to be a larger taxon compared to my specimens; in addition, some of the details in it description do not fit: slimy cap, volva remains on the cap, stem horizontally cracking with age, and so on. However, there is one point mentioned in the description of A. argentea that called my attention and that I had notice already in the field, mainly in relation to the specimen denoted by Sp2: when collected it becames greyish in the stem and volva. I just uploaded a set of photos of this specimen illustrating this feature.
Finally, A. huijsmanii seems to fit well in all the points of the description, though there are some not obvious. Here the main point seems to be related with the dimensions of the spores, which for this taxon are:
(8.5-) 10.1 – 12.8 (-15.0) × (6.5-) 7.0 – 9.8 (-10.9) µm
while I got for a specimen:
(9.5-) 10.6 – 12.2 (12.7) x (7.5) 8 – 9.2 (10.4) µm
It seems that I got for my specimen an inner interval of the dimensions of the spores of A. huijsmanii, either in lenght as well as in width, and so the smaller and the bigger spores seem to be absent in my measurements. Maybe I have to repeat this operation!

Next, I was looking for the species in Europe (France and Italy) existent in the WAO site, listed using the facility “Short list from spores”. Here are the answers,
Amanita romagnesiana
Amanita subnudipes
Amanita vaginata var. alba
Amanita submembranacea
Amanita olivaceogrisea

Amanita crocea
Amanita subnudipes
Amanita submembranacea
Amanita cistetorum
Amanita basiana

Most of these species in these lists can be eliminated only on the basis of the photos accompanying the descriptions. Going to the descriptions, I found none that can be consider as similar to my specimens. On the other hand, none of the species previously mentioned as possibilities for the material in this observation appeared. This is certainly a consequence of the algorithm chosen in this facility to present similar species.

I was not satisfied with the variations that I tried on ?Short_list…. page of WAO.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-06 18:14:13 MDT (-0600)

I came up with some names that of mushrooms with spores of roughly the right shape (but not the same size). You set of spore measurements are on the small side for all of the species. Were spores measured several days after the mushrooms were collected? That can reduce the spore size. I check into cistetorum, biovigera, magnivolvata, malleata, and a number of other taxa with broadly ellipsoid to ellipsoid spores. I still think that huijsmanii is still the best match.

I’ll see if my spore measurements end up being the same as yours when I receive the material. I will report back.

Very best,


RE: Regarding the “velcro”…
By: zaca
2014-10-06 18:10:10 MDT (-0600)

Perfectly clear now.
Regarding the options from Europe on the WAO site, I have to postpone for tomorrow.

Regarding the “velcro”…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-06 18:03:24 MDT (-0600)

They do disappear at the mushroom gets older. They collapse, gelatinize, fall off, etc. Eventually, in some species, the basidia on the bottoms of the two gill faces actually can tilt down and fill some of the space that the “velcro” cells originally filled. All the irregularity of the “velcro” remnants will then disappear.

Very best,


There are a number of ellipsoid-spored Vaginatae in Europe that I didn’t mention.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-06 17:55:06 MDT (-0600)

I didn’t mention them because their cap colors are not gray or grayish and the range of Q is shifted a bit lower than is the case with the argentea-huijsmanii-mairei cluster. Also, some have more easily broken (felted) volvas. I’m still looking around. I think if you try the ?Short_list_from_spores page on the WAO site and set the country to FRANCE first and ITALY on a second run. You will get a lot of relevant selections. I’m in the process of trying ideas like this to see how well the “short list” page works in your case.

Very best,


Thanks for the expanation.
By: zaca
2014-10-06 17:30:35 MDT (-0600)

I just mentioned this because the specimens of observation 181564 do not present such feature (or is hidden even with the hand lens).
King regards,

A finely serrulate edge (more or less) is a requirement of being an Amanita.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-06 17:23:54 MDT (-0600)

Because of their odd mode of growth, amanitas have to separate tissues that developed inside a solid lump (the primordium). The edges of the gills have to be separated either from the stem or the partial veil. This means they can’t have a fertile edge (like their older cousins the limacellas). The edge of the gill has evolved to develop into a mass of small inflated cells that can rip apart rather easily. “Agaric velcro.” But it’s “single use velcro”—once the gills are off the stem, the cells collapse leaving (very often) a line on the stem or on the upper surface of the partial veil and a finely flocculent (serrulate) edge on the gills. I think that some species develop a larger mass of the “velcro” cells than do others; however, all amanitas have to have them in order to open into mushrooms.

Very best,


I forgot to mention that …
By: zaca
2014-10-06 17:10:07 MDT (-0600)

a closer look to the gill reveals a finely serrulate edge; This can also be seen at the full magnification of the photos. I don’t know if this is of any value.

Good that it is “delimited” …
By: zaca
2014-10-06 16:47:36 MDT (-0600)

to the group of species we talked about as possibilities. I think this is the maximum I could do. So I hope that you can look at the material.
As you can see the other collection (observation 181564) is very much different. I´m thinking about the stirp “fulva”. Can you please give your opinion on that one?
Thanks again,

I tried your data on the WAO ?User+sporograph page.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-06 16:37:08 MDT (-0600)

It’s a pretty good match for both A. huijsmanii and A. argentea. The spore lengths are a little closer to those of huijsmanii.

I’m eliminating mairei because of the cap color.

There are other ellipsoid-spored species in Europe; so this is not definitive.

I am really interested in seeing the material myself.

Very best,


It looks like we were talking about the right group. Taxa with ellipsoid spores.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-06 16:30:35 MDT (-0600)

More in a bit, maybe.


Microscopy added.
By: zaca
2014-10-06 15:17:10 MDT (-0600)
You’re very welcome, Zaca.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-05 09:22:24 MDT (-0600)


Consider it done.
By: zaca
2014-10-05 09:10:18 MDT (-0600)

though as will be out of home for the next days, probably I only will send the material by mail by the end of the week. I will send material from this and also from observation 181564.
I have the idea that the material in this observation corresponds to a different species than the one in observation 181564. To me everything looks different: the size – these are smaller, almost half of the size; the cap colors – these are gray, while the other are brown; the stem – these are finely ornamented, while the other are either smooth or with a zig-zag pattern; the volva are of different form – these are very thin, the others not so much.
Thanks again, Dr. Tulloss, for you interest and comments.
Kind regards,

I am interested in examining specimens of both cap colors.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-05 08:42:26 MDT (-0600)

Since you have restricted this observation to gray-capped material, I suggest that you go with the idea that this observation (181567) be dedicated strictly to the gray-capped material. This is more likely to represent a single species…although, of course, that is a guess to some degree.

If you can spare two or three half-specimens with gray caps (to permit comparisons), that would be very helpful.

Thank you for all your efforts on this observation.

Very best,


By: zaca
2014-10-05 07:52:00 MDT (-0600)

I gave a label to each different specimen by chronological order.
Anyone interested can see all the photos taken for this observation at:
which will be available for a short period (at least a week).
I have dried samples of the following specimens:
Sp2, Sp3, Sp5, Sp8, Sp10.
Anyone interested in a part of it, please let me know.

I hope all will go well.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-04 21:58:24 MDT (-0600)

Very best,


Thanks, Dr. Tulloss.
By: zaca
2014-10-04 16:55:13 MDT (-0600)

This material was collected only some hours ago and the drying process is running. I hope it works successfully.
Kind regards,

These are very enticing photographs.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-04 16:32:45 MDT (-0600)

Are there no dried specimens?

Very best,


Hello, Zaca.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-10-04 16:30:54 MDT (-0600)

I have seen the water color paintings of mairei of both Maire and Foley (the author of the species) including the watercolor paintings that are associated with collections that are the candidates to become the lectotype of the name. The caps are all quite distinctly brown.

Two gray-capped taxa are associated with mairei because of, among other things, the fact that the spores are more ellipsoid than is usual with species in sect. Vaginatae, particular those species of the section in Europe.

There are a number of gray-capped possibilities in southern Europe; among those with more ellipsoid spores are A. argentea and A. huijsmanii. More than twenty years ago I studied the types of the three taxa named above and found them morphologically separable.

Here are some relevant links:


Very best,

Rod Tulloss

Created: 2014-10-04 15:44:53 MDT (-0600)
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