Notes: The pictured mushrooms are the last two surviving members of a gregarious cluster that has been evolving during the last two weeks.
This collection is interesting for a least two reasons:
> First, the timing of fruiting (late fall) and the fact that A. phalloides chose to grow so late under a deciduous tree that has been shedding leaves like there is no tomorrow, while reluctant to share its sugar supplies with its mycorrhizal partner(s) in preparation for winter.
> Second, the deciduous tree in question is likely to be none other than Tilia americana, a linden tree! The only other tree nearby is a maple (the linden-maple association is a known phenomenon elsewhere in the country).
Can trees from genus Tilia really serve as mycorrhizal hosts to macrofungi, especially amanitas? A quick search on the web didn’t yield much, though I found an interesting thread from a few years ago, wherein an amanita looking much like the Death Cap was reported growing nearby a “linden and maybe another deciduous tree or 2”:
Another link mentions Amanita muscaria to “thrive in pure Linden forests in Norway”: http://www.zamnesia.com/content/217-what-is-amanita-muscaria.
Dr. Tulloss later confirmed the above claim: “In Norway, I saw muscaria and a rubescent taxa in a pure Tilia grove that had developed on an area in the mountains isolated by landslides. Before that I never heard any mention of Tilia as a mycorrhizal host”.
Finally, and most curiously, the A. phalloides page on RET’s website, www.amanitaceae.org, does mention Norway again as a place where the Death Cap can grow in a possible association with linden: “Norway: In rich woods of Quercus, Tilia, and Ulmus”.
The bottom line is that the Death Cap is a notorious “generalist” when it comes to forming mycorrhizae — this list of tree species it grows with in Europe, America and other numerous countries it managed to “escape” to is long and impressive. Perhaps then it should be much of a surprise in that it eventually found the linden tree as an unlikely “bedfellow”.
This material has been preserved for RET.
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This material has been received and accessioned to Rod’s herbarium.
And thanks for the offer of the dried material in our email exchange.
Created: 2014-11-12 23:04:45 CST (-0500)
Last modified: 2014-11-12 23:12:24 CST (-0500)
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