Observation 28605: Battarrea phalloides (Dicks.) Pers.

When: 2009-11-21

Collection location: Point Lobos State Park, Monterey Co., California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Christian (Christian Schwarz)

No specimen available

Species Lists


Copyright © 2009 Christian F. Schwarz
Copyright © 2009 Christian F. Schwarz
Copyright © 2009 Christian F. Schwarz

Proposed Names

-63% (5)
Recognized by sight: COmparison to Zeller’s photo of UCB specimens
Used references: Zeller 1943 (Mycologia)

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= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
please Danny.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2017-03-24 13:23:19 CDT (-0400)

myco middle parts? and a link to creepy, shallow Buzz Feed??!

just enjoy that adorable photo of a baby Christian. so young! So innocent! So sweet natured!

and look, we were even getting along back then!

But everyone grows up, I guess. And hair and hairstyles are ephemeral like fungi.

By: Danny Newman (myxomop)
2017-03-24 13:09:32 CDT (-0400)

better a decade late than never.


By: Robert Sasata (Sasata)
2009-11-30 17:03:41 CST (-0500)

… detective work! Thanks also for making the extra (microscopic) effort. The new pic already adorns the Wikipedia article at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Battarrea_phalloides

thanks for taking this one to the mat, Christian.
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-11-30 14:44:07 CST (-0500)

I’d say you NAILED this ID!

It’s Battarea – uploaded spore photo showing orange-brown, spiny, globose spores and an elator.
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2009-11-30 12:39:38 CST (-0500)
Zeller, 1943 article in Mycologia 35: 412-414.
By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2009-11-28 00:53:06 CST (-0500)

Photo of Gyrophragmium californicum. Text description on p. 412

By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2009-11-27 22:19:33 CST (-0500)

I re-read Arora’s similar species paragraph for Gyrophragmium, and he describes the special case of confusion when the gills are gone and only a “papery pileal disc” remains – yikes! That made me less certain of my identification – the gills might just have eroded away entirely, and this soil probably qualifies both as “under trees” and “sandy”.

So… I went back and collected the specimen.

Strangely, having the mushroom in hand didn’t help much. The gills are still, well…not there, but they might have been at one point. And both the relatively smooth stipe and somewhat fibrous pileus covering leave the outside chance of Gyrophragmium.

The specimen is available (Rick) and I’ll do a little more detective work tomorrow to see if I can find anything definitive.

By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-11-23 21:43:02 CST (-0500)

Christians description is identical to what I found last week. And his collection, as well as mine, were under Cypress. The ground where I found some Battarrea was not very sandy. It was rather dry, though.

Well, OK
By: Rick Kerrigan (rwkerrigan)
2009-11-23 19:18:07 CST (-0500)

Well… to state the obvious, you saw it and I didn’t. And clearly you looked carefully and consulted the refs. Thanks for the update. I’d still like an opportunity to study new material of the Gyrophragmium from the West Coast, some time.

well, that explains why I didn’t see gills under the cap!
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-11-23 16:29:46 CST (-0500)

your explanation convinced me. back to battarea.

I was under the impression that Battarea is found in sandy habitat; I assume that your cypress were near the sea, and beneath those dropped needles was sandy soil. Arora states the habitat as: “in sand, poor soil and waste places, but often under trees in deep shade.” I guess maybe we’re both right!

Battarea vs. Gyrophragmium
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2009-11-23 16:11:15 CST (-0500)

In response to Rick and Debbie:

Firstly, the fact that this sporocarp is very mature is actually the reason that there is no longer any of the rusty spore mass present. I have found this species in San Diego (photo added from…high school), and in both cases, the spore mass was completely dispersed, leaving only a tough-papery pileal disc atop the stipe.

Second, the habitat certainly doesn’t preclude B. phalloides. The specimens in the second photo were found in deep duff under Brazilian Pepper Tree, and Dimitar also has found it under cypress (http://mushroomhobby.com/...).
Actually, Gyrophragmium is the one listed from sandy soils (see the Zeller article that Rick cited here).

I read the Gyrophragmium section of the article and looked at the photo, and the major reason that I believe that this collection is not Gyrophragmium is that it didn’t have a lamelloid hymenophore. I looked under the pileal disc (which was tough and papery and thin, typical for Battarea) – it was void of any other tissue – just the convex space formed by the recurving of the pileal disc after the gleba was dispersed. Dimitar’s photographs are of very fresh specimens, which don’t show this character yet.

One thing to note is the lack of distinct scales on the stipe of this specimen (except for at the top where it has begun to fracture and split) otherwise, it is rather smooth, unlike some other specimens of B. phalloides. However, in Paul Marshall Rea’s articl (Mushrooms of Southern California, Mycologia 34, 1942) mentions a wide range of scale size and abundance for B. phalloides.

By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-11-23 09:59:39 CST (-0500)

I bet Christian is kicking himself for not picking this one…hard to conceal that loooooong fruit body under your shirt in the no-pick zone, tho!

Looking harder, i have to agree with Rick, this is no Battarea, altho it certainly resembles one superficially. Battarea phalloides produces its copious, tenacious, rusty brown spores from the TOP of the cap; a mushroom this mature would have a rusty cap. Plus, habitat is wrong…B. phalloides is usually found in sand or other waste places, not fruiting from thick duff.

How cool! The gills don’t seem to be very well developed in this specimen tho…I found an image of Gyrophragmium online that did show thick, agaricus-like dark gills here:


Battarea phalloides illustration for comparison:

Gotta love MO, eh?

Gyrophragmium californicum?
By: Rick Kerrigan (rwkerrigan)
2009-11-23 08:05:10 CST (-0500)

From the photo this very much looks like Gyrophragmiun californicum, a species from coastal California. It hasn’t been re-studied since Zeller’s 1943 paper. It is hypothesized to be a secotioid Agaricus, like other Gyrophragmium species. A microscopic, chemical, and DNA-based evaluation is needed. I would very much like to study this specimen and any others like it, if they are available.

Thanks — Rick

And the second-to-last Stipe of the Week Award this November goes to …
By: Paul Derbyshire (Twizzler)
2009-11-22 02:00:15 CST (-0500)
By: Erin Page Blanchard (CureCat)
2009-11-22 01:50:48 CST (-0500)

Now seems to be the time to find them. I found some last week (observation 28366), but not in nearly such good condition. Same habitat.

By: Darvin DeShazer (darv)
2009-11-22 00:18:46 CST (-0500)

This one doesn’t raise its head very often. We see it in Sonoma County about once every 7 years!

Oops. There you go.
By: Christian (Christian Schwarz)
2009-11-21 22:53:43 CST (-0500)

PS – Under Cypress

I don’t think so…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-11-21 22:18:03 CST (-0500)

Created: 2009-11-21 22:02:27 CST (-0500)
Last modified: 2009-11-21 22:02:27 CST (-0500)
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