Observation 59558: Amanita aprica J. Lindgr. & Tulloss


Copyright © 2010 Christian F. Schwarz
Copyright © 2010 Christian F. Schwarz
Copyright © 2010 Christian F. Schwarz
Spores ~ 11.6 × 7.05 microns, Q avg = 1.6…

Proposed Names

82% (5)
Eye3 Eyes3
Recognized by sight: orange-yellow color, white and dare I say frosty patches, robust stipe with an evanescent veil, cuplike volva

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


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did you ever run the DNA n this one, C?
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2017-05-26 08:15:07 PDT (-0700)
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-27 07:49:46 PST (-0800)

I understand your reasoning, I simply don’t agree with it. But you are entitled to your opinion.

In truth, the collaborative and open discussions of MO are not a good fit for you. And you apparently didn’t bother to read, or honestly debate, my listing of facts of why it was perfectly reasonable that this sighting is aprica, you just chose to take offense at my pointing out the obvious, that your experience with this group is far, far less than that of others in this discussion.

In other words, yes, you can offer your opinions, but no, you are not the ultimate authority on amanitas in the West.

But if somewhere down the line, in opposition of what is before our eyes and in our scopes, Christian’s DNA (and he is one of the very very few that has the ability to run DNA on his finds) of this amanita shows that it is definitely not an aprica, then we can take up this discussion again and I will offer you an apology. Until then, I’m sticking with aprica as a comfortable ID.

Ok, enough for me at that level…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-26 19:19:54 PST (-0800)

>The two folks (Dr. Tulloss and Jan Lindgren) who actually named the species do not share your deep and troubling doubts, Dimi…

>Do your “insights” really compare to those who have specialized in this group?

Debbie, I can and may discuss this subject directly with Jan, Rod, or any other interested mycologist. I am sure that they will understand the reasoning I presented here (which goes well beyond morphology) and appreciate any additional and directly relevant data that I may share (including Amanita). At the same time, I am the next in line who will no longer participate in any mycological discussions directly with you because I find the experience hopelessly unrewarding (and even embarrassing).


“quick and silly naming hypotheses…”
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-26 18:23:37 PST (-0800)

No offense meant, eh Dimi?

Where to begin…there are so many mushrooms where we really are uncertain over their ID…why make so much trouble over this one, when the ID matches up all along the line, with an impeccable collector, a great photo, voucher specimens, and with such reputable and experienced folks looking at the evidence and agreeing with an ID?

Vernal Sierra species are unique to the Sierra? Hmmm, how ’bout that darned Spring Coccora, that occurs both in the Sierra in the spring and along the coast in the winter?

And in the original publication of aprica, it was noted that Breckon in the 1960s had collected this form (not so named, of course, but matching the description) from late spring through the fall in the Sierra; this time frame also corresponded to the CA paratype collections.

You must agree that we are having a rather late year for mushrooms here on the coast, and indeed, it is still the fall…so the sighting is right in line with the time frame published for the species. Not to mention that we are seeing lots of plasticity in fruiting times these days, which is a whole nuther topic…

Of course aprica does not occur only in the Sierra, they are found thoughout the PNW, are common throughout the Cascades and even are found in British Columbia. According to the original species description, some of the elevations where they have been found were as low as 600’. Since the species was just described in 2005, and it resembles other, similar species like Amanita gemmata and muscaria and even our other contentious, mystery amanita, breckonii, the true, full range of aprica has obviously not yet been delimited.

As to your spore measurements of another pretty obvious aprica sighting, Ron, they are within the range of all spores measured for aprica, they just are not the most common sized ones. I imagine that there is a bit of individual variation in spore shapes and sizes, even within a species, as well as their initial treatment (whether the fruit body has decayed, or was dried too hot) and even in the accuracy of their measurement by we fallible humans.

Do you never have a “bad spore” day? I sure do…

Yes, Jan Lindgren did look at this observation and commented directly to me. She also thought that it was aprica, for all of the reasons that we have already stated, as does Rod, and as do I.

The two folks (Dr. Tulloss and Jan Lindgren) who actually named the species do not share your deep and troubling doubts, Dimi…the evidence is before our eyes. Other than your vague feelings of unease over this ID, do you think that your perceptions are better and deeper than those who have been studying this group for decades? Really?

Sure you have jumped in with both feet flying, but we’re talking in your case a handful of years in the field, looking at all sorts of different things, not just the amanitas. Do your “insights” really compare to those who have specialized in this group?

Go ahead and run that DNA Christian, since you have the opportunity to do so, but rest assured that most of us share your excitement and conviction that aprica is indeed what you have collected here.

And if we can agree that this is aprica that we have here, and I have no reason to doubt it, then by gosh it also apparently occurs sometimes with hardwood hosts too, even if it hasn’t yet been recorded as doing so, by we sometimes
un-observant and often contentious humans.

Hopefully adding to the discussion
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-26 10:30:33 PST (-0800)

I’ve posted an observation of A. aprica(?) from the Sierras from a few years ago. Included some spore photos which only seem to add to the confusion. They don’t seem to be in complete agreement with RET’s data nor do they look as oblong as Christian’s collection.

By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-26 09:16:12 PST (-0800)

Christian, I think that this is a very interesting collection. It does not hurt to do a more complete morphology, but I do not think that it is too urgent to do so now. I will talk to you offline about generally going forward with some of these Amanita collections – there will be a day soon when we will start looking at some extra data and I assure you you’re going to see things that morphology didn’t show you, or start looking at morphology with a different pair of glasses. Just hang on until then and keep it, like I first suggested on MT. Neither I, nor the mushroom cares what we call it here, but I am concerned that we do not fool ourselves with quick and silly naming hypotheses (and pretend that we know what we don’t), but develop a more objective means to analyze all of the data available to us, including ecology, which is not to be underestimated. Sorting out the Gemmatoid Amanitas in California is a task that will take careful collecting and morphology development supported by additional data. Rod should put a booklet together – “Working with Amanitas – Macro & Micro Morphological methods”.

BTW, Happy Thanksgiving!!


Alright, then.
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-26 08:14:22 PST (-0800)

Let’s not keep spitting in the wind. I will finish the morphological examination when I get back to Santa Cruz, and I will do my damndest to get this guy sequenced in the next two months.
Rod – what other microcharacters should I focus on to reject/support the A. aprica hypothesis?

By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-26 01:09:05 PST (-0800)

There is no “absolute” way to define a species based on partial (and even complete) morphology in some cases. But there is a “likelihood” of an id guess being correct.

In this case we have some giant “leaps of faith” to overcome to call this Amanita aprica. And I strongly disagree with you Rod that partial morphology is sufficient in this case. Many things look like many other things, but we must never ignore the critical additional data, which may influence strongly the likelihoods. In this case the location bothers me less than the timing, which you Rod most correctly address on your site and they are also strongly confirmed by molecular data.

I am aware that we are not doing a formal scientific study here, but part of me likes to believe that we are stimulating some more thorough analysis and thought process when developing an id hypothesis.


By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-25 21:56:40 PST (-0800)

I think it is very important for all of us to be careful about what we select to be in our sets of absolute truths concerning the mushrooms we study.

As a morphologist, I rely a great deal on what I can see with my eyes, through a hand lens, and through a microscope. Because of this, I’ve posted five microscopic drawings to add to the detail available on the web about A. aprica and will extract the data from the original description and post it so that people don’t have to download the PDF.

Many amanitas have trees in multiple families as hosts. On the other hand, a few seem restricted to a single genus as hosts. Continuing to gather information over a broader and broader range can bring surprises.

Amanita praecox was thought to be strictly by associated with Canadian Hemlock by persons extremely familiar with the species from Quebec to the Great Smoky Mtns. Nat. Park. And then praecox was found on the Island of Newfoundland where THERE ARE NO Canadian Hemlock.

As we move from north to south, Alaska to California to Arizona to Mexico to Costa Rica, amerimuscaria which seems strictly associated with conifers at the north end of its range (which includes montane and coastal regions) appears in many habitats (e.g., in Los Angeles county, Dr. Florence Nishida informs me that amerimuscaria occurs excluseively with Coastal Live Oak), and, in Costa Rica appears exclusively in forests with oaks.

In the eastern U.S. the yellow color variant of amerimuscaria occurs in great quantity in the fall. Scattered occurrences happen every summer. However, one year with a very long cool wet spring, we had vernal fruiting of this mushroom. Things like this happen. When they happen, in the cases that come to mind, my experience indicates that one uses morphological methods to identify the material at hand. And if what you have in hand is a species that almost always occurs in the autumn, you say, “This is a vernal fruiting of a species that has been previously reported as occurring in great numbers in the autumn.”

In the present case, while the morphological review is partial, all the morphological evidence supports the hypothesis that Christian’s material is A. aprica. Yes, it is possible to go further in evaluating the specimen morphologically. That could be done.

I don’t think we will get anywhere productive by assume that distribution information based one study using just shy of 30 collections is absolutely definitive and all there is to be known about this species.

The most useful information in the present case has, in my opinion, come from the collector, who has also looked at some microscopic characters and has produced a photograph providing valuable information about pigment and habit of the fruiting body. The information compounded from Christian’s contributions is the most reliable data about this particular collection. The physical specimen holds the great majority of the information that is relevant. And, as things go, that is about as great certainty as is vouchsafed to us.

We need to focus on where the relevant information is and where it comes from. In this case what we can know of the truth lies in some crispy dry bits of dead (but interesting) fungus. The actions that will further our understanding of the specific issue of identification of the mushroom presented in this observation all involve further observation of those bits of dead fungus.


By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-25 20:53:37 PST (-0800)

Yes, I had the same hesitation when I found it – no conifers around, not vernal, etc.
But here is an interesting point: much of the UCSC Campus is built on a geologic formation that was at one point contiguous with the Sierra Nevada. Perhaps a holdover from a very old divergence, who knows how much gene flow has been restricted since then.

Christian, here is the point.
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-25 17:49:39 PST (-0800)

Christian, I have very hard time believing that a vernal fruiting, montane species from the American West (an interesting phenomenon in that part of the World, which took more than a day to evolve into their current niche) will all of a sudden turn on the Coast in the Fall. All my data on vernal, montane species shows them to be different and independently evolved. With very, very few exceptions, around some Hygrophori. I am actually amazed that Rod Tulloss gave a free pass on that… And Jan Lindgren too, if she was engaged in this exchange at all. Rod himself has a point to that: “None of the material collected in the fall and reviewed by the species’ authors proved to belong in A. aprica.” This is also justified by some hard core data that goes beyond morphology.


Growing with
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-25 16:02:23 PST (-0800)

Quercus agrifolia (Coast live oak) and Arbutus menziesii (madrone)

ah, but if the majority believes your opinion to be wrong…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-25 12:05:05 PST (-0800)

and that majority also has plenty of experience with this species and includes the describers of that species, then you can expect to be challenged here.

I hope you can forgive that touch of sarcasm; you should certainly be familiar with the form, since you are quick to use it yourself.

But more to the point, please give concrete evidence why you DON’T believe this to be aprica (and how it will be so earth-shattering if it is?).

Because the vast majority of evidence belies your opinion, which indeed you may express at will, as may I and everyone else on this site.

Christian, what were these growing with? Jan Lindgren wanted to know…

By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-25 10:37:56 PST (-0800)

I merely expressed an opinion that I seriously doubt this to be A. aprica and I believe that I am entitled to such an opinion based on certain experience. I prefer to discuss my reasoning in a relaxed and calm manner, but your message below does not indicate that this is likely to happen here and I will save that discussion for another time and a different setting.

here we go…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-25 09:28:12 PST (-0800)

what exactly are the “implications” that you refer to? That the range of this species has been extended to the south?

The macro is pretty spot on, and the micro is also in line. Oh wait…let me guess…we need to run the DNA!!!

And bear in mind Dimi, that one of the people who originally described aprica as a species also thinks that is what we have here. But I’ll tell you what, I’ll ask Jan Lingren to weigh in, too. She, of course, has much more experience with this species in the PNW than any of us do.

I have very hard time believing it…
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-25 09:23:33 PST (-0800)

Christian’s collection I think is more special than the typical Gemmatoid Amanitas we collect.

But I have very hard time believing it to be Amanita aprica. The implications would be very, very significant and I think such need much stronger proof

OK Christian….
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-24 09:10:58 PST (-0800)

I am now upgrading to “I’d call it that!” ;)

Clamps absent at base of basidia
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-24 08:45:06 PST (-0800)
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-24 08:24:38 PST (-0800)

Q value is Length divided by width – none of the spores of in that photo are twice as long as they are wide, much less 2.4 times as long as they are wide.
I included measurements – the Q value averaged 1.6.

These spores look very elongated
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-24 07:55:11 PST (-0800)

They seem to have Q values even larger than Amanita aprica which is around 1.5.
These look to be in the 2.2-2.4 range.

These spores look very elongated
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-24 07:52:55 PST (-0800)
I suggest looking for clamps
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-24 05:49:29 PST (-0800)

If this is A. aprica, clamps at the bases of basidia should be absent or hard to find. If you find clamps rather commonly, then this can’t be A. aprica.

The complete original description of this species along with the data on measurement of over 1,000 spores from many fruiting bodies, a sporograph, and all the original microscopic illustrations (accessible without downloading the whole PDF of the original description) are to be found on



By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2010-11-23 23:42:12 PST (-0800)

The spores are a good match for A. aprica.

A rare and interesting find in Santa Cruz.

Spore photo added
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2010-11-23 22:41:28 PST (-0800)
nice find Christian!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2010-11-23 20:43:47 PST (-0800)

I do believe that you have documented this mushrooms range at its southern limit…at least for now.

Rod, I did find it a couple of times in 2005
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-23 20:43:03 PST (-0800)

in about the same place on Bolinas Ridge.
This one may have been the one I sent… http://mushroomobserver.org/22966?q=2rJN which had my ref # 1-3-05A.

In the MO to which you provide a link
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-23 20:21:18 PST (-0800)

You mention a collection sent to me. I have a 2005 coll. from you from Bolins Ridge, Marin Co. It was a species from Sect. Amanita. Does this seem like the collection to which you were referring?

If so, it’s cataloged in the herbarium, but not assigned to any species on-line at present.


These look like what I have found in Marin
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2010-11-23 19:49:25 PST (-0800)

a couple of times.

…and I believe I have sent dried specimens to Rod. Ron
You do dare to say “frosty”.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2010-11-23 19:42:28 PST (-0800)

Yes, I think you are right, Christian. That frosty appearance is due to the fact that you are seeing lots of ruptured fragments of hyphae of the universal veil that are broken by cap expansion instead of being gelatinized so that the warts can float on goo while the cap expands. Amanita aprica is one of the species that busts up its volva the hard way.


By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2010-11-23 19:10:07 PST (-0800)

Hmm, that surely looks to me like something that I’ve seen in a Herbarium near by…

Please check it through. I see the lower part of the stipe and it probably is a Gemmatoid species, but still, give it a try.


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