Observation 32075: Amanita sect. Vaginatae sensu Zhu L. Yang

When: 2010-01-16

Collection location: Novato, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Natalie McNear

No specimen available

Found growing in oak leaf litter. Stem was about 7" in length and the cap was about 4.5" wide. Spore print was white, and the mushroom had no distinct odor.

Proposed Names

-62% (5)
Recognized by sight
Used references: “North American Mushrooms” by Orson and Hope Miller

Please login to propose your own names and vote on existing names.

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
No, I don’t …
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-01-20 04:44:00 GMT (+0000)

Sorry, Eddee. I have no experience with mixing formalin for preservation. Basically good cell wall stains (at least in water-based mounts) include such things as phloxine and Congo Red.

Very best,


Thanks for the info Rod.
By: Eddee (eddeeee)
2010-01-20 03:22:01 GMT (+0000)
Do you know the ratio to formalin/water.Is it 10%? You got my brain going now. I was thinking about persevering such fungi this way and I was thinking about making histopath type slides using paraffin. What is the best type stain to use, to bring out the cellular features.
One thing that drying does…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-01-19 19:38:00 GMT (+0000)

It evicts a lot of critters that were dining on the mushroom being dried. Fungal gnat larvae are one of the groups that suffer greatly for science.


By: Natalie McNear
2010-01-19 19:23:31 GMT (+0000)

I greatly appreciate all the info everyone has contributed; this is an awesome website. I added a small fan to the drying setup, and that has sped up the dessication significantly. Right now they seem completely crunchy except for the center of the cap – I imagine they’ll be done by the end of today. Interestingly, the extra one I picked that appeared to be in better condition yesterday has in fact turned out to be infested with some sort of tiny beetle/wasp larvae. The one I initially found (the one with the photos on this page) had tons of springtails but little evidence of insects.

formalin has a history in mycology…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-01-19 17:48:52 GMT (+0000)

I have heard that the proper ratio of alcohol to formaldehyde to use for preserving fungus tissue was one of the results produced by E. J. H. Corner when he was in Japanese occupied Singapore during WWII. Apparently, he convinced the commanding Japanese general that the general could find favor with the emperor (who had a rather sophisticated knowledge of, and interest in, marine biology) by providing supplies to Corner to work on botany and mycology during the occupation. Corner trained monkeys to collect fungi and noted whether or not they liked to eat various species including amanitas. He also did the watercolors, descriptions, and collecting that turned into his paper with Bas on the amanitas of Malaysia and Singapore and his big book on boletes of the same region…as well as other papers. He was concerned with the drying (shrinking) properties of alcohol vs. the inflating properties of formaldehyde (if I remember correctly what I was told). So he experimented with ratios of the two chemicals until he got a balance that preserved specimens with the tissues as little changed as possible in the long run. Many of the species Corner & Bas described in their 1962 paper on the amanitas (the paper that originated the modern study of Amanita) were preserved in liquid by Corner.

Very best,


Just curious
By: Eddee (eddeeee)
2010-01-19 16:53:16 GMT (+0000)

What about preserving Amanitas in a 10% formilin solution. There flesh reminds me of tissue and I deal with a lot of tissues at my real job. I wonder if a Histopath technique could be used for fungi?

drying can be both easy and cheap…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-01-19 15:59:23 GMT (+0000)

if you are only talking about a single specimen.

got metal grease catcher for a fry pan? Just place atop a lamp with a lit bulb…60 watts will work. if your mushroom is large (like an amanita) cut in half first lengthwise. leave atop screen until crispy dry.

Dehydrating with a lightbulb and the numbering of collections vs. specimens
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-01-19 04:03:06 GMT (+0000)

I agree that moving air helps. Also, I’d put the heat source under the screen (not real close). You should be able to feel the heat rising through the screen. At the level of the screen, the temperature should be like that of hot bathwater that you can tolerate on your skin, but at the same time you KNOW ITS HOT. According to the various folks the temperature at the object drying should be between 100 degr. F and 120 degr. F. I find that amanitas that are dried quickly are the best for examination under the microscope. The faster the drying the less decay and the less irremediable collapse of the important cell structures in the gills (very important for microscopic study of species in section Vaginatae (and other sections as well). Don’t worry if things don’t go well the first time. On the other hand, you don’t want the temperature to be high enough to cook a specimen.

A vegetable dryer like the ones Eddee described work well, too. I use a Swiss dehydrator that was aluminum instead of plastic. I’ve heard they aren’t made anymore.

You can get the fastest drying at good quality with two elements, (1) moving air (convection off a light bulb is pretty good air movement especially if you have a tube that will act like a chimney bringing the heat from the bulb of the mushroom in a contained space) and (2) air that is as dry as it can be. For example if the air in the space in which the light bulb or vegetable dryer is placed is air conditioned, the hot air will have much lower humidity than the ambient cooler air (which is probably dryer than exterior air). However, even in a space in which the humidity is somewhat high, the hotter air from the dryer will always have lower humidity, water will be sucked out of the specimen…just more slowly.

The problem in very humid spaces is not being able to dry the material fast enough and not being able to keep the dried specimen dry when it’s off the heat source. Be sure that your material is as crispy as a the crispiest of potato chips before you quit drying it.


It is not necessary to number individual specimens. It’s only necessary to number collections. When a mycologist is examining a collection and finds two different species in the collection, the mycologist (if he/she is doing her/his job) will mark the collection as “mixed,” give a justification for this observation and divide the collection by separating the group of specimens into groups representing the taxa she/he determines to be different. The segregated groups may still be in the original container (envelope, bag, box, etc.) or may be put into two different containers. Labeling will indicate the whole history from the collection of the material through the decisions of mycologists that examine the material over the years. Nowadays, the labeling is probably generated from a data base that also records the history of review of the collection.

To identify a collection, one uses collection location, collection date, name of colletor(s), collector’s number, place in which the specimen is deposited.

U.S.A.: NEW JERSEY — Monmouth Co. – Roosevelt, elementary school grounds, 10.ix.2009 A. B. Jones 9-10-2009-13 (NY). Fairly straightforwardly means the material numbered 9-10-2009-13 was collected by A. B. Jones on the 10th of September 2009 on the grounds of the elementary school in Roosevelt, Monmouth County, New Jersey, and is deposited in the herbarium of the New York Botanical Garden. In case anybody wonders about whether I made up the abbreviation “NY,” I didn’t. There are standard codes for herbaria (notice they are not acronyms or abbreviations) that once were in a book called Index Herbariorum and now can be found on-line under the same moniker.

Very best,


By: Eddee (eddeeee)
2010-01-19 02:30:50 GMT (+0000)

You should put a low fan on them and don’t put them under the direct light it could burn them Let the air circulate around them. Also If your finances permit your local wall mart store usually has an excellent dehydrator for about 40.00 Iv invested in about 4 of them now and they work great. there usually dehydrated in about 6 hr.

Collecting information…
By: Natalie McNear
2010-01-18 21:28:03 GMT (+0000)

I created a brief informational form for each of the specimens based on the one for “FU-0091” on that PDF. Should I also include measurements of the mushrooms or take more photos of them with a measuring tape in the shot? I have shots of them without a measuring tape, but I can take more if necessary. Also, should I give each specimen a unique ID number?

Thank you!
By: Natalie McNear
2010-01-18 20:54:48 GMT (+0000)

Thanks for all the information. I went and found the mushroom pictured above again, but it wasn’t looking so great because of the heavy rain we’ve been having. I found another one of the same species growing a few yards away that looked slightly fresher, so I collected both. I don’t really have any sort of dessicating equipment at my house, so I am using a 100 watt reptile heat lamp. I have them sitting on a plastic screen with the heat lamp about 12" above them. The mushrooms are also cut into two parts; the cap was separated from the stem to help the drying. Does this sound like it will work?

By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-01-18 16:29:45 GMT (+0000)

The most important thing about mycology is seeing. Learning to see many, many little details. Some people (my daughter, for example) have the ability to absorb detail nearly instantly and can “play back” what they saw to compare with another mushroom in the future. I am not gifted in that way, my gift is the ability to grind away and grind away for hours and remember some of what I see. In the genus Amanita DNA studies are a help and quite informative, but it is still possible to do much more than has been done using morphology alone…as long as the microscope is added to the unaided eye. Drawing helps the lest-gifted (like me) to see (“see” as opposed to “look at”). I wish you much enjoyment in the learning of mushrooms and their photography.

Very best,


Yes, I’d like very much to see dried material…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-01-18 16:18:35 GMT (+0000)

I would be very glad to have dried material (please post the photo of it when you collect it) with as much detail as you can provide. When the new Amanita Studies website is ready, you will be able to submit photos and fill out a description on-line when you have dried material to send me. Until then, instructions for collecting, annotating, and drying are on-line. Google “Tulloss Yang Amanita” and you’ll get a link high in the list. When you’re on the Amanita Studies home page click the link for Morphological Methodology or scroll down until you find the methods section of the page. There is a a “how to” PDF by RET. There are also copies of the form that I use for describing an Amanita when its fresh. There are samples of the form filled out for a couple of species. One is a species of sect. Vaginatae to serve as a model you can follow in describing your material when you have an opportunity to collect it. If you have questions, there is a “contact us” link on the home page of the current site; and there will be a similar function on the new site (coming later this year…it’s a big job modernizing and expanding the site at the same time…it will go on the rest of my life, but we hope that the page will be released for public access and use without too much more time passing).

Very best,


Thanks for the info everyone
By: Natalie McNear
2010-01-17 19:22:56 GMT (+0000)

Yes, I am still very new to the world of mycology, so many of my identifications will probably be a bit off/outdated for a while. I still know where this mushroom is, if anyone’s dying to look at it under a microscope I can go retrieve it if you tell me how to dry and ship it.

Ill Explaine in easy terms
By: Eddee (eddeeee)
2010-01-17 17:08:52 GMT (+0000)

Natalie yes welcome to the new world of mycology You see Mycology came from Europe and when it arrived in the new world a lot of fungi names from Europe arrived with it. Well those early fugiphiles assumed if a Russula looked like some thing they had Known in in Europe. Well it was the same Russula Good example Russula Emetica. Doesn’t exist in the USA If you look in early field guides, bamm there you see it. Even Arora has it listed as local to California. The same for Amanita Vaginata. You will find that name in a lot of field guides but really, it doesn’t not exists here. You see what happened was modern technology came into being, DNA sequencing ect. Now with this modern science we are able to find out, that a lot of these previously named mushrooms are not them at all so now they need new names. so hang in there from what i herd there are a lot of new mushrooms to be named and like deb said just go with the flow.

welcome to the wonderful world of modern mycology!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-01-17 16:39:27 GMT (+0000)

where the more that you know, the more you know how little you know…there was a day not so long ago, tho, where your identification of this grisette as a vaginata would have gone unchallenged.

MO is a taxo-forward site, tho, so just try and roll with it, like the rest of us have to do!

It can’t be Amanita vaginata, which is known only from Europe and W. Asia…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-01-17 16:33:13 GMT (+0000)

This is one of the brownish species of Amanita section Vaginatae from the Pacific Coastal States of the U.S. and SW Canada. There are several known that are distinguished by microscopic characters. It requires dried material in order to identify them.


Created: 2010-01-17 03:23:23 GMT (+0000)
Last modified: 2012-06-06 22:39:21 BST (+0100)
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