Collection location: Reserva Nacional Magellanes, Magellanes, Chile [Click for map]
I found this in the grass next to the trail in Nothofagus pumilio forest. It is quite large (see the ruler on the “knife”). It rained quite a lot two days before, washing the universal veil patches off (I think you can still see where they were, though, as lighter-colored splotches on the cap).
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It is not clear how many distinct taxa have been reported under the name “A. umbrinella” from South American Nothofagus forest. But this taxon could have been so reported, as there has been considerable confusion over brown-capped taxa in Amanita sect. Amanita in the southern cone of South America. My reviews of Singer’s collections labeled “umbrinella” have turned up three distinct taxa so far.
Jason suggested to me that this species might be identical to the material of Observation 18503. I think that he has a good case for this. It’s a great pity that he doesn’t have a way of drying this material because I think it is likely that the two sets of photographs represent an undescribed species. It is certainly not a species reported from Argentina or Chile with a valid name.
From the photographs, I would think that the universal veil is felted and possibly layered. The exterior surface seems to dry as a somewhat fibrous pale orangish or ochraceous cream layer in Jason’s photographs. This suggests an exterior layer of the volva that is dominated by hyphae. Below this layer, the structure seems to be rather more friable and comprised of colorless tissue that becomes gray on exposure. This is very clearly the case with Obs. 18503. There is no partial veil. The inner limb of the universal veil is friable and gray or whitish (and quickly graying on exposure); apparently, it is rapidly lost as the mushroom expands (in Obs. 18628). It would appear that the taxon belongs with the unusual group of “Gondwanan” species of sect. Amanita that have both a bulb and a saccate volva. In the present photographs, we can see that the submembranous volval outer layer is easily recognized in slightly separate plaques (like continental plates being dragged apart by the expansion of the bulb of this amanita) on the bulb’s surface. Among the potential close relatives for such an entity are the following taxa from South America “Land of Fire Amanita,” A. ushuaiensis (Raithelh.) Raithelh. and its group (its possible taxonomic synonyms: _Am. merxmuelleri Bresinsky & Garrido and A. grauiana Garrido); the “Cotton Limb Amanita,” A. lanivolva Bas; and the “Argentine False Hated Caesar,” A. pseudospreta Raithel.
The present species is very distinct from all of those just listed. In addition, Dr. Jean-Marc Moncalvo has sent me photographs of a species that is very like A. pseudospreta, but has a cap that is much more yellow than is reported for A. pseudospreta.
I have also reviewed a collection of material with very limited notes and in poor condition (collected in Argentina under Nothofagus), which shares some of the characters of the species Jason has photographed in the two cited observations. Moreover, the literature includes obscure references to something thought by collectors to be similar to “A. inaurata” (that is, A. ceciliae (Berk. & Broome) Bas of Europe). From the limited information available, this(these) “inaurata” collection(s) (none of which I have been able to locate) may be representative of the species that Jason has photographed.
AN APPEAL TO CHILEAN READERS: I would be delighted to help publish this species if it can be found, documented, and well-dried and if it does prove to be novel. Please document any collections using the the collecting notes forms that are to be found on the Amanita Studies site under “Methodology.” Good photographs are also very valuable (they could be compared with Jason’s photos, for example).