Observation 205728: Amanita sect. Lepidella sensu Bas

When: 2015-06-04

Collection location: Georgia State Botanical Garden, Athens, Georgia, USA [Click for map]

Who: Bill Sheehan (B_Sheehan)

No specimen available

This is an odd one. At first I thought baby Amanita daucipes based on shape, color and texture. But there is no evidence of gills and the button on top is strange. Maybe parasitized A. daucipes?


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Add Comment
It’s cool that Bill can take the expansion of the image up another notch.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-06-06 00:28:59 CDT (-0400)

Do you see the short darkish lines immediately above and to the right of the arrow labeled “gills”? Those are broken edge of gills that were exposed by the sectioning of the fruitingbody. This is also instructive. This means that the separation of the gills has happened or is happening at the depicted stage of development. The gills are not separated from each other at first.

The fact that gills have to be separated from each other gives the name to this kind of mushroom development: The unique mode of development (ontogeny) of amanitas is called “schizohymenial development” because the faces of the gills (the hymenial surfaces) are split apart in the development process.

In all other agarics gills grow down from a protocap into empty space. For example, this means that they can have a fertile edge—that basidia can grow on a gill edge as they do in Amanita’s sister genus, Limacella. But basidia can’t grow on an amanita gill edge because it wasn’t free during its development it was attached to a proto-annulus or a proto-stem…and had to be split off from that other surface. Amanitas can do that because they have developed a sort of single-use velcro on their gill edges that allows the separation to take place.

Now it’s my bedtime.

Very best,


The future bulb is the bulb you see.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-06-05 23:56:07 CDT (-0400)

The little trapezoid inside the “hump” and immediately above the existing carrot-like bulb is the future stem. I think I had the words in the right places. What I was concerned with was explaining that the bulb of the future is the bulb you see. Everything else that WILL BE (everything except the now and future bulb) is in the little hump.

Very best,


I added a photo showing developing gills
By: Bill Sheehan (B_Sheehan)
2015-06-05 23:53:14 CDT (-0400)

if I understand you correctly, Rod. Is this correct?

This is a wake-up call that photos showing the difference between Amanita buttons (with obvious gills) and puffballs are not foolproof!

I see the beginnings of the cap, now.
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2015-06-05 23:26:36 CDT (-0400)

The relatively small “hat atop the head” of material. Thanks, nicely detailed explanation.

One thing… In the last paragraph of you latest comment, Rod, “The trapezoidal shape in the lower-central part of the hump is the developing stem.” Do you mean “bulb” instead of “stem”?

There are two distinct versions of the odd Amanita development.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-06-05 22:53:58 CDT (-0400)

In one the mushroom develops centrally in the “button” or primordium. This is the case with the species of section Vaginatae and Caesareae. These don’t have a bulb at the base of the stem, and the entire stem of the button elongates to form the bulbless stem of the mature mushroom.

In sections such as Lepidella the development of the mushroom begins on the top of a bulb. The tiny construction on the top of the bulb contains the elements that will become the stem except for its bulbous base, the cap, the gills, the partial veil (if the species has one), and much of the volva. The tiny hump on the carrot-like bulb contains all these part.

The trapezoidal shape in the lower-central part of the hump is the developing stem; the colored surface layer is the developing volva. On the sloping sides of the trapezoid are layers of fluffy stuff which is becoming the part of the volva between the stem and the partial veil if the species has one or between the stem and the future gill edges otherwise. If you look very carefully, you will see that beyond the volva layer there is tissue with a slightly different texture than the tissue of the future cap. This differently textured tissue is the area of the developing gills. I can’t see this detail until I increase the size of the photograph to the maximum. My point is that the bulb has become extensively developed at the stage depicted; and what is inside the hump on the top is the remainder of the mushroom (under development).

Does any of that help?

Very best,


Rod, at least in this photo…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2015-06-05 22:27:12 CDT (-0400)

it’s difficult to see the outline of a mushroom in the cross-section. Seems like a particularly troublesome resemblance to the interior of a puffball.

Thanks for your email, Bill.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-06-05 18:13:16 CDT (-0400)

You’re very welcome.

Very best,


And from the “poison control” point of view that is exactly the problem.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-06-05 14:06:28 CDT (-0400)

It is important to cut possible puffballs in half (top to bottom) to look for the little immature amanita that might be there.

Very best,


This could very easily be confused…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2015-06-05 09:33:23 CDT (-0400)

with an edible puffball.

If you look at the sectioned fruiting body…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-06-05 09:18:52 CDT (-0400)

with the highest magnification of the image, you can see the little stem flanked by very small gills inside the developing cap of this mushroom. Note that there is floccose universal veil in a layer between the developing stem and the developing gills.


This is exactly how an amanita grows.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-06-05 08:46:29 CDT (-0400)

This is a baby amanita. You don’t see any gills yet because amanitas are unique among all agarics in developing their gills “in place” within a solid mass. I suggest that you look at the “About” pages on the “Amanitaceae Studies” website. They start here:


Also on the website is the complete introduction to the 1969 doctoral thesis of my mentor, Dr. Cornelis Bas, to whom the site is dedicated. Dr. Bas’ “introduction” is fundamental to understanding the current morphological methods used to study Amanita.

Very best,


Created: 2015-06-04 17:47:02 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2015-06-05 23:49:51 CDT (-0400)
Viewed: 123 times, last viewed: 2017-08-21 18:18:00 CDT (-0400)
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