Observation 66942: Amanita vernicoccora Bojantchev & R.M. Davis

When: 2011-05-03

Collection location: Cedar Park Trail, Sierra Springs, California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)

Specimen available

I may catch some flack for using this name but since Rod Tulloss is now using it on his site and since in 99 out of a 100 times, one can easily distinguish this from Amanita calyptroderma, both visually and by habitat/season, why not start separating the two species?
These were found at about 3600 Ft. with mostly small pines nearby.
The spores in this case were measured in a combination of KOH and Congo Red.
16 spores ~ 11.1-15.0 X 8.0-11.2 microns.

Proposed Names

5% (4)
Recognized by sight: spring form.
4% (5)
Recognized by sight: This is clearly what is commonly called the Spring Coccora. The scientifically correct name at the moment (May 2011) for these organisms is Amanita calyptroderma. I am proposing this name as another possible provisional name (hence the double quotes).
-40% (3)
Recognized by sight: another potential provisional name for our western spring coccora. Although our “popularity contest” here will not guarantee our eventual name…that is at this point up to Rod to decide, I do hope that he is listening to our pleas for a more fitting honorific for our beloved spring coccora.
88% (4)
Recognized by sight: name just published in Mycotaxon by Bojantchev et al.

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

Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
note conifer association at 3,600’ elevation.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-06-29 13:10:07 CDT (-0500)
gosh, the spring coccora where IT all started! ;)
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2012-02-02 10:18:22 CST (-0600)

historic material.

Speaking of amanita researchers, how ’bout that great study on Amanita thiersii by Ben Wolfe et al? Quite the “Cover Girl” Amanita on the cover, and even better between the sheets (of paper, that is).

This material has been accessioned…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2012-02-02 08:54:53 CST (-0600)

Cristina and I accessioned this material this morning and included the collection on-line on the WAO vernicoccora page.


By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2011-05-09 01:15:02 CDT (-0500)

I appreciate Nathan’s wish to commemorate a mycological friend with a species name. And I appreciate the annotated material supplied to me by Janet Lindgren and Ron Pastorino (among others) who wished to gain a handle on this interesting species.

I think I have explained previously how it came about, several years ago, that I chose the name. In case I am mistaken, here it is.

The name honors someone, namely, Virginia Garland Ballen, who was the person who sent both Fall and Spring material of robust “caesarea-like” amanitas to G. F. Atkinson at Cornell in the first decade of the 20th Century. In choosing Ms. Ballen’s name to honor, I followed an idea I have of honoring women who contributed to the study of Amanita in the 19th and early 20th Centuries.

Atkinson, used the Fall material as the type for the name “Amanita calyptroderma.”

It happens that “ballen” provides the opportunity for a multilingual pun. “Ballen” is one of the words meaning “king” in Greek; and in this case it is applied to a mushroom that is a “false caesar.”

I want to emphasize that there is someone consciously commemorated by the species epithet that I picked.

The epithet “icthyeroballen” is composed of two parts, as people seem to be aware, and might be translated as “fishy king.”

When the species was sauteed for me to eat by John Feci (quite a few years back), it was noticeably fishy in smell and taste. The smell was not particularly noticeable before it was cooked. John told me that there would be a fishy smell after cooking based on his previous experience.

I realize that other people may not detect a smell or taste that John and I detected.

The name icthyeroballen has been in circulation as a provisional name for
several years. It is on my herbarium labels for the specimens that people from the western U.S. have helped me to collect or have sent to me when they collected them. The name has been on labels sent to two international laboratories where several loci of the genetic material of the species has been sequenced. [Morphologically, all the material sent to me seems to be one
species. The unpublished data from sequencing indicates that molecularly all the material belongs to a single taxon.]

When I discovered that “Ballen” meant “king” in Greek, I fell for the idea of the name. I think it’s a good name.

To me it seems like a one word poem…a sort of minute haiku.

Rod Tulloss

I like
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2011-05-08 11:43:07 CDT (-0500)

A. fergusonii…

This popularity contest is a very weird (but not totally unwelcome) phenomenon.

here’s another hat in the ring…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-05-08 10:40:43 CDT (-0500)

Amanita calyptroverna, as another potential provisional name, to emphasize both its similarity and its difference from the fall coccora.

But until official publication of another name, I will stick with calyptroderma.

BTW, sorry about the wrong Greg here, Nathan; as I’ve mentioned, I never met either of them!

Gregg Ferguson not Greg Wright…
By: Nathan Wilson (nathan)
2011-05-08 05:24:23 CDT (-0500)

For the record, my suggestion was to name this species in honor of Gregg Ferguson not Greg Wright. My specific proposal is to have it be named Amanita fergusonii. The name would be an honorific for Gregg Ferguson. Gregg was the Science Advisor for the Fungus Federation of Santa Cruz when I joined that club in the early 90’s. He was an avid amateur mycologist and did much to promote the pursuit of science within the Santa Cruz group, was the primary editor of the Santa Cruz clubs newsletter, the Duff, for a number of years, and helped make the Santa Cruz Fungus Fair what it is today. The Santa Cruz group nominated him several years in a row for the NAMA McNight award, which he was never awarded. He was also an active member of the MSSF and was well known throughout the California amateur community in the 80s and 90s. He was well familar with fall and spring variants and always referred to them as A. calyptroderma while recognizing that they were most likely distinct species. He was with me the first time I collected the spring coccora on one of the Santa Cruz Pipi Valley (Sierra Nevada) forays.

Sadly, he passed away in 1994. He was on a Santa Cruz club foray to an area near Big Sur. After the foray he went to his car and laid down. A few hours later one of the members checked on him and found that he had passed away. It was well known that he had congenitally weak heart and was likely to die young in the same way as his father and one of his brothers had. He was 40 years old at the time.

Fresh water fish
By: Jeff Riedenauer (Tamsenite)
2011-05-08 01:17:51 CDT (-0500)

Smells more like freshwater fish that saltwater fish to me. My personal name for it is Amanita trutta or “trout shroom”:)

By: Alan Rockefeller (Alan Rockefeller)
2011-05-07 22:04:52 CDT (-0500)

I find this sometimes and it does not smell fishy to me.

Amanita vernicoccora
By: Dimitar Bojantchev (dimitar)
2011-05-07 19:14:53 CDT (-0500)

Here is an appeal to Rod.

Rod, when and if you work to formally name this species why not give us a name that we can like for our beloved Spring Coccora. That current provisional name is so fishy that it stinks. I do not like it, others too, and most of all it is hardly representative of this beautiful species, which I dare say we have significantly more hands-on experience with. I suggest the simplest and most straightforward form that matches the common name of the moment — Amanita vernicoccora.

you are right about the details, Ron…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-05-05 10:30:58 CDT (-0500)

I have not spent a lot of time on the new site and was just looking at the “brief” description, which is, in fact, brief.

Frankly, part of my reluctance is the proposed name itself…I don’t like it. And as folks who actually have to live with and talk about these mushrooms, I would really really prefer it to have another name…perhaps honoring the late Greg Wright, as first proposed by Nathan Wilson? How ’bout the far more simple and sentimental Amanita wrightii?

The focus on “fishy” is not a unique attribute for amanitas, and in fact the spring coccora is, to my palate at least, much better tasting than the fall coccora. It seems to me like it is being used as a negative thing. Even Jan Lindgren made disparaging comments about this mushroom due to its “fishy” odor in her guide to amanitas of the PNW. Velosas smell fishy too (to many, at least), but they are one of my hands-down favorite edible mushrooms!

Until actual publication, none of this is set in stone, right? This is one of our common and well known and beloved amanita species here in the west…let’s give it a new name that we can all live with and remember and say easily, and maybe honor one of our own at the same time.

I wouldn’t call Rod’s description of Amanita icthyeroballen “merest”
By: Ron Pastorino (Ronpast)
2011-05-05 10:09:18 CDT (-0500)
if you look under his “technical” section. http://www.amanitaceae.org/?Amanita%20icthyeroballen Also, there seem to be plenty of “nom. prov.” species on MO from much less authoritative sources.
I hear you Ron…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-05-04 22:39:07 CDT (-0500)

but there is nothing really published about a new name for our spring coccora on Rod’s site except for the merest of descriptions and a provisional name:

http://www.amanitaceae.org/?Amanita icthyeroballen

when it gets published, I’ll use it. I think you are jumping the gun here.

until then, just call it the spring coccora in the description; it is already a separate species from the brown-capped fall coccora in our minds and eyes.

Created: 2011-05-04 19:18:58 CDT (-0500)
Last modified: 2017-12-29 15:50:13 CST (-0600)
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