Notes: grasshappa collection.
This beauty was growing on the edge of a creek in some lodgepole pine duff soil at just under 8000’ in the eastern Sierra Nevada, California.
The site wouldnt let me create the name Amanita muscaria var. sierraensis nom. prov.
[admin – Sat Aug 14 02:05:59 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Sierra Nevada, California’ to ‘Sierra Nevada, California, USA’
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Scientific discovery in mycology is what interests me. “Proving
anybody wrong” is not the focus of my attention as this is not a
gladiator sport. I will not be dragged into a circus where egos
take center stage or militant ignorance reigns supreme. For the
reasons on which I elaborated earlier, I am interested to examine
parts of this collection and not particularly concerned how it
was named or by whom. I hope that I am understood correctly and
will gladly discuss any mycological aspects (but only them!).
Debbie, during the description effort of Amanita aprica the authors
examined numerous collections. In their own words some had to be
separated microscopically and some clearly fell in the Muscarioid
group (basidial clamps, etc. ) Obviously even the authors like Tulloss
could not settle on just looking at things on the surface. Similarly,
I had something in mind when looking at this collection from the
Eastern Sierra. We have an interesting set of Amanita species that
popup in that area some 40 days later, which I have examined and found
to be solidly Muscarioid. So, I am naturally curious about this
particular collection, which even the collector confused with those of
the later fruiting period that I had illustrated. We have a slightly
unsettled situation in the region that we should not miss to try to
clarify. So, if Tulloss does not settle on the superficial level, but
examines all his material; if I do my careful investigation based on a
full id effort and advise people not to settle for anything less, I am
surprised to hear Debbie Viess questioning me and asserting – “no, it
is not necessary, I know what this is…” No, you don’t.
Gotta go, will continue later today with those other questions,D.
What features, pray tell, are troubling you in these photos? The timing is right; the location is right; the cap color and veil texture are right; the evanescent annulus is right; the tight cup of a volva is right; what is it that you find wrong?
Widely separated populations can show regional differences, but I don’t see evidence of speciation here.
Ok, but I am not so sure. I see interesting features in this single
fruitbody that warrants a deeper look.
Because, have we not been in the habit of blissfully skimming at the
superfluous level we might have even wondered what is the “typical”
look of Amanita aprica? I do see troubling differences between what we
see in California Sierras and the illustrations from the broader
PNW. You sure it’s one and the same species? Anyway, I will put a
broader discussion on MT later on and draw some wider comparisons.
P.S. We’re in the habit, BTW of treating California and the broader
PNW as the same thing. This is like treating France and Sweden as the
same habitat. There are many overlaps, but many gaps and again and
fundamentally different vegetation and climate for the most part. Thos
who have walked the forests of both have felt it.
deserving of deeper study, but this is not one of them. It is clearly an aprica to my eye. But if you have your own doubts, please have at it!
Debbie, there is nothing to disagree with me as I have not even taken
a stance on a species name here. All I suggested to the man was to be
more careful with the analysis and not be too rushy about putting
names because we have a number of questionable and poorly studied
Amanita species in California. Because it is a fact that the long
standing tradition of naming things authoritatively without fulfilling
the full burden of identification effort has led to well documented
cases of misconceptions about Amanita species in California. But if
you are convinced that you know everything with less than even a
partial id effort then you’re free to think so. Just permit me to
advise people to do it right because we need them out West if we’re
going to gain some real knowledge. Amanita is not an easy Genus and
requires the utmost to be studied properly. I’m out cause I’ve spent
too much time already.
As to times of fruiting leading one to a particular name, mushrooms are coming up all over the calendar this year; the Boletus edulis, to name just one species, is showing up two months ahead of schedule in
Colorado, so what used to be true of times of fruiting cannot be relied upon.
I just scrolled thru the images of aprica on MO and the vast majority were aprica w/out question…where are your “a number of questionable mushrooms?” The only possibly confusing IDs, other than the one undeveloped fruit body posted by John Harlen, was the orange capped mushroom IDed by Tulloss himself at SOMA camp!
As to the “popularity” of the name…we are just grateful to have a real name for this formerly misidentified mushroom at long last, and as a common amanita of both the PNW and the Sierra of course we will have lots of sightings of it.
Herbert, these people at that site over there have illustrated Amanita
aprica too. Now is the tail end of the aprica season although that
your collection is interesting too and I wouldn’t rush to put a name
on it without a little bit of extra work. There are things in it that
kinda fall in between and should be checked. It is interesting also
because later in the year around August, also under Lodgepole pine in
the High Sierra there is a flush of those species that yours truly has
called A. muscaria var. “sierraensis”, somewhat tongue in cheek, of
course (that’s why the double quotes). And they’re Muscarioid taxa
that in turn has been confused with aprica on occasions and I think
Tulloss looked them over. Tulloss also emphasizes the seasonal
fruiting of aprica, I think. Anyway, if you get a good collection of
these, please photograph and preserve. They are interesting and it is
very clear that we do not know all that we need to know about the
Spring and Summer Amanitas in California.
Also, keep in mind that the name aprica has become very popular and
there are a number of things called aprica on this site that are
questionable. The major problem is that the epicenter of study of the
Genus is on the East Coast, otherwise I am sure that if Tulloss walked
our areas the way he does the Eastern Seaboard we’d have a lot of his
codified, but unnamed species hanging like leaves in his keys…
only recently described and named by Tulloss and Lindgren, it has been confusing Sierra hunters for generations! The one slam dunk difference: the universal veil in aprica actually grows into the cap and cannot be easily removed, unlike the warts in both gemmata and muscaria; it forms a sort of “frost” on the cap surface. Also, aprica cap color is either a bright but cool tone of yellow (I call it day-glo yellow if you’re old enuf to remember that color spectrum) or shades of orange. Its somewhat cupulate volva can either resemble that of gemmata or muscaria, so no help there!
This mushroom is toxic, so no cookpot experimentation!
Created: 2009-06-23 10:05:22 CDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2012-01-24 17:09:40 CST (-0500)
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