Observation 210692: Amanita sect. Validae (Fr.) Singer

When: 2015-07-16

Collection location: Long Hunter State Park, Davidson Co., Tennessee, USA [Click for map]

Who: Brian Adamo (adamo588)

No specimen available

9cm mature cap diameter, group of 3 (mature, adolescent and button) growing on ground among oak and hickory trees. Amyloid, elliptical spores measuring 6.5-7 × 5-5.5 µ. Sweet, anise-like odor.

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A can of worms
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-07-23 23:20:36 CDT (-0500)

An anise-like odor. Hmm.

Brian you may have opened a can of worms.

First, the odor: There are four species covered on the Studies in Amanitaceae web site with odor recorded as at least sometimes, at least faintly like anise. All four are known only from the eastern half of North America…as far as I know. Two are placed in section Lepidella sensu Bas:


No way you have either of the above.

Two are in section Validae:


Both of these have been mistakenly called “spissa” in the past. Amanita spissa is frequently treated as a synonym of A. excelsa, which is a European taxon.

Amanita spissa var. alba Coker (several people have given the same name to what are apparently different taxa) is very poorly known. The original (1917) description explicitly says the species is odorless. Unfortunately, there is no photograph of the species. (Coker’s glass plate photos are often superb, but in this case there is none.) The type is a spore print only. There is a very small drawing of a few spores.

Given this information you might have a pigmentless example of either of the known anise-odored Validae or you might have an unknown species or you might have a known white species with an odor that no one has previously reported.

Under the circumstances, some dried material could prove enlightening.

Very best,


Thanks for your comments, Rod
By: Brian Adamo (adamo588)
2015-07-20 13:16:00 CDT (-0500)

Amanita spissa var. alba Coker is not an accepted name on MO, so I guess we’ll leave it at Amanita sect. Validae for now (I changed from Lepidella on your advice). Something I left out of my original description was that these mushrooms had a very pleasant sweet anise-like odor. Does that tell you anything?

Sorry, I didn’t save any material for drying. I never do. If I find any more of these, however, I will get them to you.


One possibility is that this material is the poorly understood…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-07-19 20:04:31 CDT (-0500)

Amanita spissa var. alba Coker (an illegitimate name and a species of which the type is only a spore print). This material could lead to some very interesting research. Was any material saved for drying?

Very best,


I made a sporograph from all sect. Validae data and another from all sect….
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-07-19 18:42:16 CDT (-0500)

Lepidella data. In each case I superimposed your spore data on the image.

Your data falls in the middle of all Validae data, but at the lower left corner of all Lepidella data. This illustrates my point about it being unusual for spores this small to represent a Lepidella.

Very best,


The spores are small for a species of sect. Lepidella.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2015-07-19 18:24:11 CDT (-0500)

I think it would also be worthwhile to consider the possibility that the specimens could be assigned to section Validae.

Very best,


Created: 2015-07-19 17:24:38 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2015-07-20 13:04:16 CDT (-0500)
Viewed: 53 times, last viewed: 2017-09-14 02:05:23 CDT (-0500)
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