Observation 10221: Amanita sturgeonii Tulloss, Q. Cai and L.V. Kudzma nom. prov.

The material depicted was used for identification in an amatoxin poisoning. The cook of the curry ate the curry at two successive meals only 2 hours apart. Hence, she received a very large dose of the toxin compared to the her daughter and son-in-law who only tasted the meal very tentatively. Nevertheless, the last I heard they were still being observed in the hospital three days after ingestion. The cook and collector was a non-English-speaking immigrant from the Punjab in India. She collected the mushrooms near a neighbor’s tennis court, where she had mushroomed without negative incident in the past. She prepared a mushroom curry which was dominated by pieces of what was then determined as A. bisporigera. The death of the cook is the second death attributed A. bisporigera poisoning in the eastern U.S. that I know of this year.

For the information of persons doing taxonomic analysis of cooked mushrooms: In this case the cooking was gentle enough so that the typical amanita-structure of the gills was preserved. No stem pieces were used in the dish. The typical acrophysalidic stem tissue of amanitas normally survives cooking well, but there were no pieces of stem available. An attempt to use KOH on a cooked piece of cap (washed thoroughly with tap water) failed because a spice in the curry produced a brilliant red reaction with KOH.

[admin – Sat Aug 14 02:00:34 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Franklin Township, Somerset Co., NJ’ to ‘Franklin Township, Somerset Co., New Jersey, USA

Species Lists


Copyright © 2008 Dr. Naci, Princeton Hospital
The photograph is used by permission of the photographer.
Copyright © 2008 Rod Tulloss
Leftovers of curry supplied by Franklin Township Dept. of Health.
Copyright © 2008 Dr. Naci, Princeton Hospital
The photograph is used by permission of the photographer.
Copyright © 2008 Dr. Naci, Princeton Hospital
The photograph is used by permission of the photographer.

Proposed Names

-84% (1)
Recognized by sight: Fresh material typical of sect. Phalloideae, specifically of the destroying angel group.
Based on microscopic features: Lamella trama of cap pieces in curry, 2-spored basidia of cap pieces in curry, spores from fresh material and from curry dominantly subglobose and of appropriate size.
Based on chemical features: 5% KOH on fresh cap +(yellow), caused typical symptomology of amatoxin poisoning.
28% (1)
Based on chemical features: DNA results published by Q. Cai et al. (2014) indicate that this collection is most closely related to the species that Walt Sturgeon first sent to me from Ohio twenty years ago and for which he has recently posted photographs of several collections on MO.

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Eye3 = Observer’s choice
Eyes3 = Current consensus


Add Comment
You’re very welcome.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2017-04-18 00:21:26 EDT (-0400)


Yes, I see now, Rod
By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2017-04-17 22:41:14 EDT (-0400)

Given its history, this robust Destroying Angel type should indeed have Walter’s name written all over it. Very fitting. Thanks for the perspective!

The name is a nom. prov.
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2017-04-17 21:01:30 EDT (-0400)


Oh, I asked Walt about it. I wrote a little about his role in my history with…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2017-04-17 21:01:06 EDT (-0400)

this species. He argued with me for years that the species was morphologically distinct; but I didn’t get it. Then it had to be segregated for genetic reasons, also. The end of the disagreement. He got honored for his persistence over a long, long period. Just look at his collecting dates on the web page for sturgeonii.

Very best,


By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2017-04-17 18:29:20 EDT (-0400)

I hope Walter doesn’t object to having his name associated with the killer mushroom! Maybe it should have been named after the victim instead? Well, none of this is material now, as the name has already been published (not nom. prov., anymore, I presume). Besides, the past, as we know it, is unalterable.

The paper utilizing the DNA derived from this specimen…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2014-07-09 10:45:16 EDT (-0400)

was published at the end of June, 2014 by Q. Cai et al.

Multiple genes from this collection are now listed in the “GenBank nos.” data field on the technical tab here:



Created: 2008-08-30 12:06:22 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2017-04-17 23:05:21 EDT (-0400)
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