When: 2009-09-20

Collection location: Wharton State Forest, Burlington Co., New Jersey, USA [Click for map]

Who: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)

No specimen available

The Pine Barrens area is a true paradise for all kinds of Amanitas. This rather large muscaria family (about a dosen mature fruitbodies) was growing on the edge of a bog in mixed woods (mostly pitch pine and occasional hardwoods).


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By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2017-02-12 12:39:25 CST (-0500)

Though there are plantations of P. strobus in the NJ Pine Barrens (e.g., near picnic areas and park offices) and the species has escaped to successfully start new “colonies” in the middle of woods dominated by “native” pines (e.g., in Brendan Byrne S.F.), the 2- and 3-needle pines rule the territory and represent the homogeneous backbone of the Barrens vascular flora together with scrub oak.
A. muscaria var. guessowii is fairly common and widely distribution in the Pine Barrens and almost certainly capable of growing in association with P. resinosa though in mixed habitats it’s more difficult to pinpoint the host. In this observation, I recall, the habitat was deciduous (a mix of birch, black gum, maple and blueberry bushes), but hard pines were nearby. The two A. persicina spots are also mixed woods, but this species prefers to fruit in the middle of the fall (October), so perhaps hardwoods should not be considered as hosts.

By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2017-02-08 16:45:45 CST (-0500)

Yes, muscaria-guessowii and persicina exist sympatrically in NJ. I know of at least two spots where persicina grows – both are in the Pine Barrens and are several miles apart. Last year I revisited the spot where obs 220345 had been made the year before and found both species growing practically next to each other on the opposite sides of the road! I would be curious to hear about Rod’s experience with these amanitas in NJ.

Very interesting and relevant comparisons
By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2017-02-08 12:55:07 CST (-0500)

Some of your orange/red muscaria collections, Dave, came from areas with planted imported trees, so the question which Fly Agaric variety it is appears to be more open than in my case. Yes, 25526 came from a natural area in the heart of the Pine Barrens where there are no plated “foreign” trees. So, in all likelihood it is the ubiquitous var. guessowii. Drawing from my experience in the NJ Pinelands, the cap of that mushroom is very variable, ranging from pure light yellow to dark orange-red.

Reminds me of…
By: Dave W (Dave W)
2017-02-07 21:36:54 CST (-0500)

this obs 221347 . Found under planted conifers… on basically the same lawn (separated by some asphalt) as obs 115891, which was clearly imported along with the trees. This next one obs 269425 , was found in an area not populated with recently imported trees (white pine in this area). These two reddish-capped muscaria observations were made two days apart, October 2015.

Igor’s Pine Barrens observation (25526) likely shows mushrooms that do not represent an imported species. But, the cap colors seem to present the same type of question. My guess is that guessowii occasionally occurs with more than the usual amount of red on the cap.

A blast from the past
By: I. G. Safonov (IGSafonov)
2017-02-07 14:44:23 CST (-0500)

Almost 8 years later and I still remember where I found them. I haven’t been in that section of WSF for at least a couple of years. As I recall, there was a very large fruiting of these on the edge of a swampy area. The cap colors indeed suggest something other than var. guessowii.