Collection location: Soldotna, Alaska, USA [Click for map]
I used the National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms to identify this mushroom as Amanita parcivolvata, and then corrected it based on the comment below. It was found growing in the grass next to a post office. This stunning mushroom had a pool of water in the bottom where insects were drinking. The next day I went back and someone had mowed it down.
[admin – Sat Aug 14 02:06:09 +0000 2010]: Changed location name from ‘Soldotna, Alaska, USPS’ to ‘Soldotna, Alaska, USA’
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I’m not piling on, but for those folks who may run into A. parcivolvata… It is a mushroom of the SE US (might be in Mexico, but I’ve never had a report) associated with oak-pine forests from sea level up into the Great Smoky Mtns. To add to Nathan’s comments, it is exannulate. In the east it is sometimes reported as A. jacksonii because of the length of the marginal striations and the intense red (fading to orange) of the cap color. However, it has no saccate volva and a small bulb at the stipe base. Pix and description can be found on the Amanita Studies website.
The ranges of several muscarioid taxa overlap to a degree in Alaska (and possibly eastward in Canada…anybody trekking that way?): the dominantly Eurasian muscaria subsp. muscaria, muscaria subsp. flavivolvata (Northa and Central America), and regalis which might be circumpolar (named from Europe, rather common in Scandinavia).
Just to clarify one point, the two, widely distributed RED muscarias (that we know of) can be segregated by microscope as well as geography and genetic studies. The taxon of the Americas has larger spores (yes, the difference is
NOT an elephant to mouse comparison) and thicker gills.