“Breckon’s False-Ring Amanita”
A. breckonii isotype, New York Botanical Gardens. http://mycoportal.org/...
New York Botanical Garden
Catalog #: 00066695
Taxon: Amanita breckonii Thiers & Ammirati
Determiner: H. D. Thiers
Type Status: isotype
Collector: G. J. Breckon 658
Date: 12 September 1968
Locality: USA, California, San Francisco, San Francisco State University
Habitat: Under Pinus radiata
A. breckonii holotype, San Francisco State University.
of several purported breckonii samples, coming from Breckon’s type in 1968, a SF collection made by the Tulloss family in 1982, and another from the Del Monte Forest in CA in 1998 (all with 100% matches to the type) confirm a “close relationship” to muscaroids? In fact, it appears that breckonii is more closely related to gemmata, as was suspected all along.
So, which characters are one to believe? More clamps present than the norm for gemmatoids, or the fact that breckonii (Amanita breckonii voucher RET 174-8a internal transcribed spacer 1, partial sequence; 5.8S ribosomal RNA gene and internal transcribed spacer 2, complete sequence; and 28S ribosomal RNA gene, partial sequence) has its closest match at 96.42% to gemmata? No muscaroids even make the top 100 hits!
I am also curious as to where is the DNA and photographic evidence for Jan Lindgren’s WA collections? There is nothing up on Genbank. The so called “breckonii” on Genbank from Flagstaff, MK627470.1, is clearly not this species.
I would be grateful to anyone who could shed some light. The breckonii controversy continues, and this CA amanitologist would like to know more.
wouldn’t it have been nice to have a real photo of fresh material of the original breckonii collection? Might have saved us a lot of guess-work and trouble.
Photos of dried specimens, altho better than nothing at all, are just not the same.
Breckon’s Blues indeed.
Here is the state of affairs. There is no existing published phylogeny that gives a meaningful picture of Amanita sect. Amanita. Partially this is because names have not been used correctly. Partially this is because so many species are not described. Partially this is because so few species have been sequenced with a shared gene appropriate to phylogenetic tree building.
At present, The WAO website recognizes 139 taxa in sect. Amanita. Surely, there are more than that. Of the 139 taxa there are 30 taxa with 57 nrLSU sequences available form material presently believed to be determined correctly. NOTE: Not even one quarter of the taxa are sequenced. We are working hard to improve the situation, but that’s the current status.
I can attempt a “naive” one-gene, unrooted tree from this data (that is just not going to be properly called a phylogeny). I did this in response to your question.
I will attempt to describe the tree as it is built up from its apparent base. The basal clade includes Australian taxa (including some that are truffle-like as well as A. murinoflammeum.
The next most basal branch bears another small clade including only sp-57, which may be a concept based on diseased material.
The next most basal branch bears another small clade including only A. wellsii.
Continuing “up” the tree, the next clade is one including roseitincta and cruzii.
NOTA BENE: Continuing “up,” the next clade includes >>__breckonii__<< and “sp-N60.”
The next most basal clade includes pudica (with its pink cap and its bulb in a saccate volva) and altipes.
The next most basal cluster contains several pantherinoid taxa and A. rubrovolvata.
Beyond this point in the tree the tree is dominated by taxa that have sequenced frequently such as ibotengutake, persicina, muscaria, aprica, the “dominant North American muscarioid,” as well as some less commonly sequenced material such as frostiana, __subfrostiana_, and orientigemmata.
So I suppose that we could say that in this “naively constructed,” one-gene tree (which should have no pretense of being a phylogeny), breckonii and “__sp-N60” appear to hold an isolated position a few branching points below the large clades that could be loosely identified as pantherinoid and muscarioid.
By this coming summer, I hope to have sequences for taxa such as xylinivolva as well as eastern taxa that seem close to the original description of russuloides (e.g., “sp-S01”) as well as praecox/stranella, at least some material that has been called gemmata in western Europe, etc. Also, I expect to get sequences from more material from Australia, Chile, and Argentina which is likely to impact the lower branches of the tree (e.g., near murinoflammeum).
That’s about what I can do for the time being.
By the way, I don’t think the images (other than the photographs of type collections) are breckonii. I think they show what some of the Californians on MO call “pseudobreckonii.”
I think it is worth noting that the species Amanita breckonii has had its type studied; and the results of this study (along with review of a few other specimens) are posted on-line:
The basidia have clamps that are at least locally common. Gemmatoid taxa have infrequent to rare clamps at the base of basidia. Amanita breckonii is muscarioid according to the study of the type collection.
California is blessed/cursed (depending on your point of view) with a
number of Gemmatoid Amanitas (i.e. close to A. gemmata) that have been
poorly studied and are essentially treated as a species complex.
Hidden in there is an Amanita called breckonii that has for some
reason offered a special lure to hunters to find it and name
it. Amanita breckonii is rare according to Arora, and a conservative
site like MykoWeb does not depict any collections. I have been on the
search for one, but so far have not seen it.
It is said to have some special features — the most distinctive of
which is the slightly rooting stipe. BTW, I haven’t seen good
diagnostic photos depicting this important characteristic. The other
key feature are the unusually narrow spores compared to the other
members of the Section. The one feature, which is cited frequently iss
the double ring on the lower stem, but it is due according to Tulloss
of the lower annulus being close to the volval edge, thus creating
that impression and since these can disappear quickly they’re not
What is missing and I have spoken about it in the past is a good
virtual lectotype of that species so that we know what we’re looking
at. So far I see a number of collections being listed here and there,
mainly on MushroomObserver, but none of them have passed even minimum
standard of identification.
I asked for collections to be sent to me to study and Debbie Viess
(kudos to her!) sent me one of her best shots at A. breckonii. I think
that it is depicted on that photo here:
There are two important micro characteristics — the narrow spores and
the clamp at the base of the basidia. The Q Ratio (i.e. the fraction
of length/width) is quoted by Tulloss to be at minimum 1.5 and more
like 1.6/1.7 for A. breckonii, which makes the spores ellipsoid to
cylindric, while the typical A. gemmata collection has the Q Ratio of
~1.2. If 100+ years of Amanita research are to be taken seriously then
the Q Ratios are very important and should be studied with a larger
population of spores. In the exsiccata that Debbie sent me the spores
were the typical 1.26 ratio, which immediately precludes A. breckonii
as a correct id.
Lµ W? Q
9.00 7.50 1.20
10.40 7.80 1.33
9.30 7.80 1.19
9.30 7.30 1.27
10.50 7.80 1.35
10.00 8.30 1.20
9.30 7.50 1.24
9.30 7.40 1.26
10.50 8.30 1.35 MAX
9.00 7.30 1.19 MIN
9.64 7.68 1.26 AVG
Other features that are frequently cited as belonging to A. breckonii
are the wider, flatter, floccose patches on the cap, but those who
have seen Gemmatoid Amanitas in the field, as well as in the various
publications know that the variability of how the veil splits on the
cap is great.
Another characteristic that is being cited is the darker, more
orangish color of the supposed A. breckonii collections — that also I
find utterly unconvincing, as we know how variable in color these can
be. Just try to map the delineation between A. pantherina and
A. gemmata based on that here locally…
Digging through my archives, I see that Rod had examined other
collections from our area and found them not to match the Type
Collection from SFSU.
So, what I’m very curious for us, supposedly informed collectors, is
to take one good collection of A. breckonii that fits the concept in
all its aspects (micro too!!) and use it as a virtual lectotype by
photographing extensively all pertinent features. Anyway, I’m shutting
off the Breckon’s Blues for now and rather dance polka with the