When: 2009-01-11

Collection location: Orinda, Contra Costa Co., California, USA [Click for map]

Who: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)

No specimen available

Growing under live oak


Here are the caps the next day. They are clearly a deep brown with a grayish overlay. Or else they are gray with a rich brown underlay.
Here is the volva, the next day. I am going gray a lot faster!

Proposed Names

64% (2)
Recognized by sight: Tightly wrapped universal veil around base of stem, striate cap
Used references: Arora

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

= Observer’s choice
= Current consensus


Add Comment
Yes, it’s graying…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2009-01-13 06:24:34 CST (-0600)

Hail to the good doctor.

In the case of the mushroom, the graying you photographed (thank you!) supports the idea that this material represents A. constricta.

Very best,


Dr. Seuss had it right.
By: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)
2009-01-13 00:07:06 CST (-0600)

How To Tell A Klotz From A Glotz

Well, the Glotz, you will notice,
has lots of black spots.
The Klotz is quite different
with lots of black dots.
But the big problem is
that the spots on a Glotz
are about the same size
as the dots on a Klotz.
So you first have to spot
who the one with the dots is.
Then it’s easy to tell
who the Klotz or the Glotz is.

Nobody disagrees…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2009-01-12 21:53:07 CST (-0600)

Well, Deb, I don’t think anyone disagrees with you on that point.


this does NOT fit my concept of protecta…
By: Debbie Viess (amanitarita)
2009-01-12 19:51:21 CST (-0600)

no warts on cap, no yellowing anywhere, no reddening, membranous volva that flares…now maybe it is a JAG (just another grisette) but a protecta? nuh uh.

again, not many of us are doing microscopy on these “don’t quite fit” grisettes when we find them, but my working macro concept of constricta is a grisette that often has dark gray stipe ornamentation and gray inner lining to a membranous flaring volva, with cap shades of both gray and brown.

protecta is a squat beastie that yellows in all parts, reddens, has warts and a very fragile make-up to its volva that causes it to be highly abbreviated at the stipe base. goodness knows that somebody needs to go deep on all of our grisettes, but these are two that I think we have fairly clear concepts on. don’t we???

When you see these again…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2009-01-12 12:50:21 CST (-0600)

Also, when you see these again, scrape the “frosty” area in the center of the cap with your thumbnail and see if it is very dark blackish brown underneath the frost.

I am working on putting a full technical description of this species on the Amanita Studies website today.


Can you send dried material?
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2009-01-12 11:28:27 CST (-0600)

After reading your comment, I looked at your photographs again. My original impression was that the caps were gray and silvery. Now I see that the caps are distinctly brown around the edges. So there is a possibility that you do have A. constricta. For example, the volva may not yet have turned gray sufficiently for it to be easy to detect. Look on the inside of the volval limb (the gray usually appears on the inner surface first). Also, pinch (but don’t crush) a spot on the volval limb. Then wait an hour or so to see if it is graying faster.

Can you send dried material? It pretty much requires microscopy to name a species in section Vaginatae. Once we know what the microscopy tells us, then it is possible to try to find macroscopic means of identification; but, we have to face the fact, that, for some species at least, a macroscopic examination may never be enough.

If you get a chance to dry some of this critter, I’d be delighted to examine the specimen when I get a chance.

Very best,


Thanks Rod
By: Richard Sullivan (enchplant)
2009-01-12 10:20:48 CST (-0600)

Thanks for your in depth analysis . I am curious as to what you would name this particular specimen. They seem quite common around here.

constricta’s volva becomes distinctly gray and weakly structured
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2009-01-11 23:03:09 CST (-0600)

Many species of Amanita section Vaginatae have a volva that is much wider in the upper part than in the lower part. Amanita supravolvata and A. fulva in Europe are two such species. The first is even named to suggest this form of volva (although the Latin doesn’t really say exactly what the namer wanted to say). The distinctive characteristics of A. constricta include the fact that the structure of universal veil weakens and the volval sac becomes very gray with exposure and aging. I have studied the type and examined fresh material in the field. Apparently the original description of constricta includes data from some specimens of A. protecta along with data from specimens that were similar to the type collection of A. constricta). As a consequence, the cap color was described as both brown and gray. I believe that the true constricta has a brown cap. I have seen such material fresh in Sonoma Co., Calif. and have been sent other such collections from Oregon and Washington accompanied by color photos.

For a bit more on constricta, you could look here:


Very best,