Observation 23192: Amanita sect. Vaginatae sensu Zhu L. Yang

When: 2009-07-13

Collection location: Geneva, Switzerland [Click for map]

Who: Douglas Smith (douglas)

No specimen available

Don’t know about this name, it was id’ed by others at the SMG meeting, and this is the name that they used.

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I know this is still only conjecture, w/out the dessicata…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2011-07-11 22:32:38 CEST (+0200)

but I am interested in this species because I have collected it in North America, and am intrigued by both its unusual form and its habitat.

Surely the folks who live in the Geneva area are familiar with nivalis, and would’ve proposed that as a name IF they thought this was that amanita.

No mention of dwarf willow collecting sites.

The cap striations appear to be too short for nivalis, if you compare to all other known photos online of this species (from both NA and Europe), including the published photo that I have in Arctic and Alpine Fungi, Vol 1.

Doug’s second photo shows a volva that has been partally torn from the stem base, not a flaring volva that hugs the base and then flares out.

It is certainly one of the vaginate amanitas, and a pale form of something…
but I don’t see the evidence to make it a nivalis.

By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2009-07-22 20:22:43 CEST (+0200)

The striations are short enough.
The cap has a raised center (top picture) and is not pure white (grayish tone).
The volva has been compressed a bit, but is flaring in the bottom picture.

Given the locality was in Switzerland, given that the striations are not long enough for vaginata var. alba, given that the specimen is way too small for islandica (and lacks the large sac and densely flocculent upper stipe), given that the specimen does not have proportions of arctica (and lacks the flocculent upper stipe), given that I previously provided reasons why it couldn’t be lactea (which, at least at present, is not known from montane habitat and mostly has been reported from the Mediterranean region, to my knowledge),…I think nivalis is a reasonable guess. It is not a clincher, but it doesn’t hurt that nivalis is known to occur in Switzerland.

We’re making a GUESS, with NO CHANCE of ever seeing the microscopic details of the specimen. I’m offering my best guess.


grisettes are a challenge to ID wherever in the world they occur…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-07-22 17:00:02 CEST (+0200)

but I don’t believe that this one is nivalis.

volva not pinched and flaring; striations too short; cap not obviously umbonate; general “gestalt” too tall…and surely if collected in the proper alpine habitat it would’ve been noted by the local mycologists. I think it’s just one of those darned white grisettes, but not the very distinctive nivalis.

links to several sightings of nivalis on MO…just click on the latin name to view. Coincidentally, I have been living with images of nivalis on my wall all month, since it is the July mushroom on the CMS calendar.

It was fairly small-ish
By: Douglas Smith (douglas)
2009-07-22 16:52:13 CEST (+0200)

I would say that the cap size was about 4 cm in diameter, so it was smallish.

Not sure of the habitat, it was found and brought in by others.

marginal striations…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2009-07-22 16:40:50 CEST (+0200)

I think that the marginal striations are a bit short for A. vaginata var. _alba). See


Do you know anything about the habitat in which the pictured item was collected? Could it have come from an alpine heath with miniature Salix?
Can you give information on the approximate size of the fruiting body?

The upper stipe is not floccose enough for A. lactea. I’m inclined to think
that the pictured item is smallish. Right? If so, it might be close to A. nivalis. That species has a range of colors from white to gray, sometimes with orangish staining…in the current species concept. It is only known to occur in areas with miniature Salix (and, possibly, with miniature Betula?). See


Very best,


Created: 2009-07-15 16:35:01 CEST (+0200)
Last modified: 2011-07-11 22:23:56 CEST (+0200)
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