Observation 58898: Amanita Pers. sect. Amanita
When: 2010-11-13
No herbarium specimen

Proposed Names

57% (1)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: a common amanita species of the north coast. no good name for this one yet. has been called Amanita gemmata var. exannulata as well as Amanita breckonii.
-90% (2)
Recognized by sight: Adding this name to keep together the related descriptions.

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
here is the same mushroom, from tight button to blow-out.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-25 01:45:08 CST (+0800)
I don’t think so…
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-25 00:22:03 CST (+0800)

The little on here is much more tan than yellow, and the patches appear to have ruptured pretty cleanly.

Check out this observations (1723)
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-24 21:56:27 CST (+0800)

Christian turned this observation up over night (1723). Look at the big limb on this critter and the color in the center of the cap. Is 1723 a very mature specimen of the species represented by the little guy of 58898?


Gary Breckon update
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-24 10:13:05 CST (+0800)
I believe we discussed this on Mushroom Hobby some time ago. Gary Breckon has been in Puerto Rico and was a professor of Biology as well as the Director for the Biology Dept. Herberium for the University of Puerto Rico campus at Mayaguez. He recently retired and hopefully if this link works you will get a good picture of his current status….. Try this link and scroll down to the second to last picture. http://uprm-invcol-project.tumblr.com/page/2
20 years??
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-24 08:18:55 CST (+0800)

That’s…quite a few years…


Yes boss, got it…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-24 06:59:49 CST (+0800)

Good point Rod. Great site!!! It is bookmarked.

I will look for the photographs of your type collection notes – they probably belong there as an extra Appendix. They are very useful!!

These notes from nearly 20 years ago also demonstrate something about what an “amateur mycologist” really means!! And who has the right to adorn their hat with that “taxonomist” feather…


Breckon and dates
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-24 06:42:35 CST (+0800)

Harry told me that Breckon had completely dropped out of sight as far as he knew. Harry had no contact information.

All the collection information with dates is on the technical tab of this page


I’m putting all the data I have and all the amanitas I know on the site. Come on guys! It’s there. You can look it up. I’m not cutting and pasting any more on this topic for this crowd. Look it up. :-)

Homework time.


Sep 12, 1968
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-24 05:53:57 CST (+0800)

The type states that the collections were from September 12, 1968.

The only way they could be fruiting then was due to the lawn being watered. What concerns me is that this may be a warmer weather species, but it may show up in December.

There are plenty of places off the beaten path of students where one could find Amanitas. In my experience I did not see molested collections, but I am sure that happens. Sometime next week I may stop by SFSU on the way back from work and also to talk to some people. Debbie, if you take the BART and meet me there, we can walk together. Then we can have dinner in the area.

The species was best understood by Breckon, but published by Thiers & Ammirati… If someone knows Breckon, w should contact him and find out if he has any good photos.


It wasn’t reasoning.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-24 05:47:50 CST (+0800)

I think that part of the point that I am trying to make here is that it was not reasoning that led to the analysis of the “lower ring” on the stem.

I looked at the tissue under the microscope and it was universal veil tissue, not partial veil tissue.



one of the problems of collecting mushrooms at SFSU
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-24 05:32:13 CST (+0800)

is that the students kick them as soon as they pop up! This was told to me by Desjardin, who is in a position to know.

So arriving at the campus exactly when a potential breckonii has popped its pretty head is unlikely at best. Especially if those pines are starting to die…and the fact that no one has seen them there since the original collections, as far as I know. I used to look for them too, when I was taking Dennis’s graduate class there…

What were the dates on those two collection, Dimi? both from campus? From the same campus trees/mycelia? Thier’s breckonii description in the Agaricales claims that these amanitas were quite rare on campus, rarely producing more than one or two mushrooms a year.

BTW, Thiers called that veil material at the basal bulb an annulus, too, although I agree with your reasoning to the contrary, Rod!

There are mycologists on campus just about every day, altho alas only a handful, and spending more time in the lab than on the lawns…

A loop or a noose…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-24 03:37:44 CST (+0800)

Rod, it’s been an year since last I saw you and I think this needs to be corrected. My memories are fuzzy of that night in the parishes, but I do remember checking my watch (4:00AM), bottles of wine, progressive politics, languages and no mycology at all…

Considering the amount of Amanita collections that need to be sifted through in the West (seen from this observation as well) we need a significantly increased local capability of producing quality morphological comparison data. Teacher Rod should only give and check on the homework, but not do all of the homework of all… the “bottleneck” I was referring to. One is to be in the loop, the other is to wear the noose on the neck of being the sole point of dependency on all quality analysis on Amanita in NA.

I hope you could find a way to sneak that A. breckonii type on Geml’s workbench, but to the top of the stack… Find a way to formulate it as important…

Very best,


involve the gods, too….
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-24 01:52:57 CST (+0800)

Well, D., I think that the coastal rain and mist gods need to know they have a two year deadline and so does the little local deity of breckonii (I hope there is one because rare things need their protectors). [I am thinking of a line from Isak Dinesen in talking about starting young coffee plants in the shadae because all young things have a right to be protected.]

The last time I discussed the matter with Dr. Joszef Geml, he was interested in the possibility of genetic exploration of the hypothesis of narrowing spores. I’ve got a big bundle of things to send to him (his new base of operations is where Dr. Bas used to work, the National Herbarium in Leiden)…and Jan’s collection of breckonii is on the list of things to sample. Geml already has sequences from the narrow-spored muscarioid taxa found in the Channel Islands.

[I’m having terrible response time this morning on MO. I can go get a cup of coffee between writing two halv es of the same sentence.]

Also, please remember that the new Amanitaceae site is flexible enough to track any events in the tracking of breckonii. Also, you can ask Nathan to start a project space for breckonii here on MO…as he did for “the spring calyptroderma”…if you think that that would provide a central point for discussion, planning, reporting, etc.

Finally (for the daylight hours that I really need to use here at home), I hope that after I’m popped out of the West Coast amanita “bottleneck,” that you good folks keep me in the loop. :-)

Very best,


I went looking twice to the SFSU Campus to look for it
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-24 00:35:35 CST (+0800)

I went twice around the SFSU Campus in 2009 looking for it under the
widely scattered Monterey Pine (which is dying, btw). I saw only
Amanita muscaria in large quantities. Now and in the next month is
probably a good time to look for it. We should organize a foray on the
SFSU campus centered only at the Amanitas.

Dennis Desjardin told me that they were all over that year when
breckonii was described. Joe Ammirati who is the co-author of the
species had no recollection, but went looking into his notes when I

I will shop around to see if someone wants to sequence this type
collection – I think it is more significant than others in California
and also relatively recent.

On one side the “heretic” in me makes me be very skeptical of such
obscure species where we have mostly very scant evidence about. No
quality original iconography, lots of misinterpretation, etc. Some of
the key features like that double veil are just documented with words,
not even a drawing that anchors us into some reality…

I must most honestly say also that I do not find Jan’s photo
convincing at all to be the exact A. breckonii we are after, for the
following reasons:

(1) It is of very poor quality

(2) I’d like to see a larger collection (the same rules for pros and

(3) the color of the cap doesn’t quite match the original description.

I assume it must be something in the narrow spored species around
A. muscaria since Rod inspected it already and found it matching
closely the breckonii concept.

I struggle with the fact that nobody ever saw anything like
it. Similarly, we had the case with the “green” A. calyptrata -
clearly someone screwed up the description. So everybody was going
into a loop looking for it. I know of several cases of things
described once, apparently wrongly, never reviewed again by the
author, species that until today remain “orphaned” – no supporting
interpretation exists.

On the other hand — very significantly — there are TWO COLLECTIONS
of breckonii in the Thiers Herbarium. I did consider the possibility
that the type collection represents an ANOMALY of some kind. But the
second collection, also inspected and annotated by Rod Tulloss showed
the same characters. So, two collections is a lot stronger evidence
supporting this species than one..

Also, I do know of rare California Amanita collections that are not on
MO. I know of species that fruited once massively at certain location
and not again for a while.. So, let’s keep searching – I haven’t given
up on it yet!! The general notion is – let’s look for narrow spored
muscarioud Amanitas. I will spent 30 secs and inspect a few
collections that I see and look more odd.

Rod, I love your hypothesis of the narrow spores and the aerodynamics
involved – PhDs in Engineering come up with stuff like that!!

>Then this old man suggests that teachers are known to give homework.

Yes!! Give them homework Rod and demand results!! If those Amanita
students of California show no significant progress in 2 years I am
going to get far more involved!! You see, it sparked my interests
greatly despite the fact that Amanita is not on the forefront of my
interests at the moment.


4 collections
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-23 23:14:23 CST (+0800)

First. Ron, thanks for the pointer back to the earlier observation. The microscopy and the original photographs together make it very clear that some adjustment of votes is needed on that observation to bring the ID in line with the current discussion.

Second. I think that breckonii is probably pretty rare. I have examined four collections of it. They are listed on the breckonii page that probably doesn’t need another link here. Three were part of the original description. They all came from the campus of SFSU. The fourth was sent to me by Jan Lindgren with the photo that is now posted on the above-mentioned page. The photo appears to show the internal limb of the volval LEFT IN PLACE on the bulb in that particular specimen.

I’d guess that breckonii is a lot rarer than the things that have had the name tacked on them. I think that’s a reasonable assumption.

Third. Are there any clues about when and where one might find more specimens of breckonii?

Where should one look for A. breckonii. Well, all I have is the collection data from the two sites mentioned above:

Solitary to scattered to gregarious. California: Under Pinus radiata, near sea level. Washington: Under Picea and Pinus ponderosa in grass, at 1220 m elev.

Where do other narrow-spored species of the muscarioid group grow? The answer to this question might be taken to suggest the conditions under which breckonii evolved. The known species (named and not named) of the muscarioid group with the narrowest spores are associated with maquis vegetation in the Mediterranean and on rocky, rather inhospitable islands of the Channel Islands group in the Pacific off southern California. These are places where having one’s spores drop straight down to the ground is likely to put them on a rock or something else that is rather hot in the summer and rather dry. Water is not held well near the surface in these places. A longer spore tumbles in the air and stays aloft a little bit longer than a less elongate spore…even in still air. My hypothesis is that the “ancestry” of breckonii evolved in a Mediterranean-like climate (California) where they evolved to have a (very?) slightly greater chance of having their spores find a place to germinate than their ancestors did.

I’m afraid that only tells us about a possible past, however. It doesn’t tell us where to look for breckonii today. I guess, “open conifer forest” is one thing that might be a clue (our examples are the SFSU campus and a grassy area in a forest). Pine was present at the two collecting sites as well…for what that’s worth. Too little data.

Times of occurrence: The collection “in the wild” was made in June, 1990.

The campus collections (think “watered lawns”?) were widely distributed over the year June, September, and December.

Properly preserved dried collections with top quality notes on fresh material and with detailed herbarium labels are the way to conserve this kind of information.

Published descriptions (on paper or on the web) are intended to gather all this information and put it in one place. Hence, it would be most useful in a discussion of this type if all the people serious about the discussion read, and thought over, the available data.

I know that long, technical descriptions are not everybody’s cup of tea. But that’s where all the information is stored by the person or persons willing to amass the information. MO is unusual in the fact that it attracts so many people who really are interested in the details to get together “around a picture” and discuss what is not in the picture. Think about it. MO is an extraordinary opportunity for teachers to teach and future teachers to learn. If you agree with this hypothesis, then this old man suggests that teachers are known to give homework. Homework doesn’t always happen in discussion groups. Discussion groups are one place to have Eureka moments. Solitary study is another. Both are time-tested. Why do it only one way?

Things fall in place. Keep digging holes and wait.

Very best,


What I am wondering is…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-23 13:45:28 CST (+0800)

Why hasn’t the real Amanita breckonii ever shown up on this site? I
think we have plenty of material from Oregon and California, but no
one ever exclaimed — hey, this is it, the real deal?? Something is
terribly wrong with this situation. I think this type is crying to be
sequenced and matched close to something.

This is also why I keep emphasizing and over-emphasizing that it was a
crime to publish a description like this without quality and
sufficient iconography. This should be fixed at the ICBN level!

The photo in the Agaricales of CA is wrong and it reflects this
species here. It misled a generation of amateurs.

But again, why hasn’t the real thing ever surfaced?

Another Amanita breckonii pretender
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-23 12:26:28 CST (+0800)

is this Observation I updated with some new photos… http://mushroomobserver.org/4745?q=2qQz
Wanted to also show what the spores look like on these type of specimens.

beautiful Rod!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-23 11:38:15 CST (+0800)

I had my Eureka! moment.

It is the membranous, limbate volva that separates this species from the mostly poorly depicted in photographs breckonii. I must admit that seeing Jan’s photo didn’t help, and even she said it looked a bit like pantherina to the eye, and Darvin’s photos in the Agaricales seemd a bit ambiguous as well.

So, I dug out a sketch that I made of some breckonii that Darv had IDed and brought back down with him from Humboldt five years ago, and that I drove all the way up to Sebastopol to sketch!

Indeed, it shows a very different volva than the mushroom depicted here; we should have no problems separating these two species (one named, one maybe unnamed) in hand from now on, and we have that micro clamp connection difference available for our ID certainty in questionable individuals.

I will make another MO observation of the breckonii sketch.

Here’s the link: http://mushroomobserver.org/59496?q=2qQz

Nathan, I agree, but..
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-23 08:19:23 CST (+0800)

Nathan, good points. I would only like to distinguish between the “most people” (90%) for which you are correct in your assessment about level of interest and the few “advanced amateurs”, some of whom may become “amateur mycologists” if they follow some basic discipline and respect for the scientific process. I am usually only demanding of that second category. I may become a bit harsh when I detect “impersonation of a mycologist” if not matched by actual deeds. But you can put me into another email list where we can discuss that.

Yes, you may.
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-23 08:11:56 CST (+0800)

Debbie>I’d love to be able to sequence my collections…should I get in line at UC Davis? ;)

Get in line at any of the labs, but you have to interest them first. Start with the basics – good collections, descriptions, solid microscopic technique, etc. etc.

Macroscopic Naming Conventions
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2010-11-23 08:10:52 CST (+0800)

While generally I agree with Rod and Dimi’s assessment that the most useful thing are detailed descriptions of actual collections, the fact is that most people using this site don’t have the time, skill, inclination, or hardware to do “extensive macro micro/morphology”. The problem we are faced with is that there are sets of observations primarily in the form of photographs on Mushroom Observer that we don’t have an easy way to talk about. Simply ignoring this problem by saying we need more detailed study of specimens which will ultimately result in more species being defined misses the point.

The central issue is that there is a gap in the current naming conventions for groups of effectively indistinguishable individuals based solely on field observable characteristics. Unfortunately existing scientific naming conventions do not give us any good direction here. The conventions used by the MO community so far include inappropriately applying existing scientific names based on too little information (e.g., Chroogomphus vinicolor), provisional names (e.g., Boletus ‘marshii’), putting “group” at the end of an arbitrarily selected exemplar species (e.g., Amanita russuloides group), common names (e.g., Lichen), and applying higher level taxon names most commonly at the genus level (e.g., Russula sp.), but at times at the section level (e.g., Amanita sp. section Amanita). Personally, I find all of these approaches to be poor solutions to the problem.

If any of you are interested in further discussing this topic, send me an email through the site (http://mushroomobserver.org/observer/ask_user_question/1) with the subject: “Macroscopic Naming Conventions” and I’ll make a mailing list.

Why this species cannot be Amanita breckonii
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-23 05:27:11 CST (+0800)

Because Amanita breckonii is a muscarioid and not a gemmatoid species, it has clamp connections on the basidia (which requires a microscope) and it doesn’t have a limbate volva…and that does not require a microscope to see.

There should not be any confusion of the present species with its very notable limbate volva with A. breckonii.

My suggestion is just don’t think “gemmatoid” because the cap is yellowish or for any other reason. Maybe it would help to “see” the “c” in both breckonii and muscaria.

A relatively large copy of Janet Lindgren’s photo of a confirmed specimen of A. breckonii is now posted on the breckonii page of the Amanitaceae web site.


BTW Ron…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-23 03:22:06 CST (+0800)

you are right in that my spore measurement (just a couple) looks off…the length is OK but the width looks closer to 4 than 6. I also thought that the spores looked weird, so just went ahead and posted the photo w/out a lot of analysis.
I no longer have the slide, the specimen is rotten and gone and there’s no going back for this obsie. But there will be more of this amanita species coming up as the season progresses…

obviously the photo is of an immature fruit body…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-23 00:44:51 CST (+0800)

it was the only one seen that day, so no opportunity for more collections. not worthless at all, even if it wasn’t producing spores at the time of the photograph, since it clearly shows a mushroom that we are familiar with here, and the documentation of what is occuring when is part of the reason for MO.

As I remarked, the mushroom was grown until the spores were mature, and they dropped of their own accord onto my slide.

Yes, we know that more work needs to be done with this species, and that it is unlikely to be the true breckonii.

I’d love to be able to sequence my collections…should I get in line at UC Davis? ;)

We have already been documenting this species in photos.

I agree that we need to go deeper with our amanita collections here in the West, and not be so quick to send everything off to NJ, or at least, not send ALL of it! ;)

Yes, this mushroom is what we have been calling “breckonii” locally, but that name is apparently not applicable.

My comments
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-23 00:22:25 CST (+0800)

This fruitbody and spores appear immature to me, although that I have
not observed how the shape/size of spores changes as the Amanita
fruitbodies mature. I can talk volumes on Cortinarius where the
spores typically mature very, very late and any earlier measuremenet
can lead to severe misinterpretation. In general immature fruitbodies
should be excluded from analysis.

I did a simple illustrated type study of Amnaita breckonii a couple of
years ago and we discussed it on MushroomTalk. The main purpose of the
study was to check the Q ratio of the spores, which appeared somewhat

External Link

My measurements supported the previous analysis by Tulloss. He has 9
pages of handwritten notes in the type collection box from 1991, which
I photographed too, I think. I checked several fruitbodies. There
were also frequent clamps, easy to see, not easy to find good ones to

External Link

The photo here reminds me of the regular Amanita “breckonii”, which is
a Gemmatoid Amanita, a fairy common one.


The study of Amanita in California should proceed on a similar path as
we did with the Cortinarius where it is starting to bear fruit in
relatively short order.

1) Pick quality multi frb. collections – this obs. is just a baby frb,
not much value in there.

2) Do extensive macro micro/morphology – do not bottleneck everything
through Rod Tulloss.

3) Do extensive pictorial documentation – the big crime of past
researchers is their failure to do so – so sloppy I can’t even start
to speak.. Kauffman did it in 1907, but later researchers stop doing

4) Sequence.

The process needs to be disciplined and scientifically minded.

There are cryptic species in there and we need to be prepared to deal
with them.

The A. breckonii type collection is somewhat recent – an attempt
should be made to sequence it.


P.S. Ron Pastorino pointed me to this discussion.

spores pictured were from fruit body depicted.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-22 23:45:35 CST (+0800)

The young amanita was grown in damp moss until it dropped spores directly on a slide. That slide and its spores are depicted here.

I did NOT measure scads of spores, just a handful.

Somewhere in my tumultuous home herbarium I also have more collections of this species, and could try and check those spores, too.

This amanita is fairly common locally in season along the north coast, and we should be able to get good collections of it. I will be up in Mendocino in two weekends and will make a point of looking for it, photographing it and drying it.

Did Jan get good photos of breckonii as well as dried material? I still don’t feel like I have a good search image for that amanita.

Dog work indeed. I have a pile of dessicata to hand off to Desjardin anyway, I could look at the vouchered breckonii while I am there.

Without commenting on this collection…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-22 13:56:52 CST (+0800)

This comment is not directed at this collection. Like some other posters before me. I don’t understand exactly how all the components of the observation hang together and think it is better to wait for the answers to questions already posed before trying to plunge ahead with more questions.

I think that there is enough information presently available to say that A. gemmata var. exannulata in the sense of Breckon, Thiers, and others and A. breckonii are not names that are equally vague or equally poorly understood. A type study of the latter has been carried out; and it proved to belong in the muscarioid group, not the gemmatoid group. Detailed data for breckonii is now posted on-line:


It is true that A. gemmata var. exannulata sensu Breckon et al. is not as well known as A. breckonii, but it could be better understood if material in SFSU seen by Breckon and Thiers were reviewed.

Given a specimen, we can find out if it is A. breckonii or not. It is quite distinct from other species of the muscarioid group.

The problem for all of us is that breckonii (1) appears to be relatively rare and (2) is not represented to our collective knowledge (my judgment based on my own knowledge plus my understanding of the posts on MO and other somewhat similar sources) by “enough” good pictures for which confirmed voucher specimens exist.

We may well need another name for an amanita on the West Coast. I think it is important to be clear that the finding of definitively determinable material of A. breckonii and the production of very good illustrations of that material is at least of equal importance to the proffering of a new name.

Clarity doesn’t come from a name (another name may already exist for the same thing…and adding a name does not tell us if we are re-naming something or not). Clarity comes from the dog work of discovering how existing names are to be correctly used…which is almost the same as saying that clarity comes from getting more thorough definitions (understandings) of existing names. In mycology this comes about when new material that is demonstrably very, very like a type collection can be found and described thoroughly from the fresh state, from the spores, and from the anatomy of a dried specimen.

The first steps toward a solution of the situation manifested by the current discussion of the present observation must include production of well-documented, well-photographed, well-dried, and well-preserved specimens.


Debbie -
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-22 13:25:59 CST (+0800)

I think we need two things:
1) A description of the relationship between the spore photo here and the fruitbody photo (ie. did you wait for this guy to grow up or measure spores off a nearby conspecific fruitbody)
2) An LxW = Q chart for 30+ spores (Rod might say 100+… I can’t say I envy you, but such is the burden of an Amanitologist).

The 9/6 is what originally got my attention
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-22 12:19:33 CST (+0800)

but when I blew up the spore photos, they do not appear to be in that range and they still do not look like any gemmatinoid spores that I’ve ever seen?

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-22 12:08:55 CST (+0800)

9/6 is not over 2 for a Q value, and that actually puts it in range for the TRUE A. breckonii. What’s going on here? I don’t know, but if those spores actually measure 9 × 6 and they are actually from that specimen (I don’t see any reason to doubt that they are, other than the pictured specimen is far too young to drop spores, otherwise the shape is generally Amanitoid) then this might be a very significant photograph.

Micro spore photos do not look like Amanita spores
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-22 11:16:35 CST (+0800)

Also they look like they would have a Q value of over 2.
Are you sure about the spores being from that specimen?

Thoughts on a provisional name?
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2010-11-22 09:01:20 CST (+0800)

We find this species often enough it seems worth coining a provisional name for. Any thoughts?

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