When: 2008-06-23

Collection location: Crystal Springs Campground, Kittitas Co., Washington, USA [Click for map]

Who: Joshua Birkebak (Shua)

Specimen available

Also very common in the cascades in the spring… not the same as var. formosa from europe or the eastern North American yellow variety according to Amanita experts…


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Yes there are two taxa…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2008-06-26 08:49:06 CDT (-0400)

Yes, there is a yellow variant of muscaria that occurs in the PNW. Dr. Jozsef Geml (Univ. of Alaska, Fairbanks) has been working on the DNA of the muscarioid taxa of North America. His present conclusion is that the yellow muscarioid entity of the west is not a separate species. It is a yellow variant that has arisen multiple times from the true (largely Eurasian) red muscaria subsp. muscaria (apparently limited to part of Alaska, except for human introductions, in the Americas).

The eastern yellow muscarioid entity seems to be in the same situation except that it appears to have arisen multiple times within the American red fly agaric (A. muscaria subsp. flavivolvata Singer). The two red fly agarics will become separate species when I finish the next article with Dr. Geml. His DNA paper will appear in a journal shortly – Molceular Phylogeny and Evolution.

Very best,


Looks like a great match…
By: Joshua Birkebak (Shua)
2008-06-26 02:58:35 CDT (-0400)

Yes this seems to be the species… Is this what is often called muscaria var. formosa in the PNW or is their another yellow species here? i. e. A muscaria var. formosa sensu thiers = A. aprica?

ps: it looks like spelling auto-correct got me again!

Why not check for clamps at the bases of basidia…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2008-06-25 20:47:11 CDT (-0400)

If you have access to a microscope or someone who can check for you, I’d suggest looking for obvious clamp connections (rather common, too) at the bases of basidia. The way the volva is clinging all over the pileus reminds me of A. aprica. Amanita aprica completely lacks clamps. All the mushrooms in the A. muscaria group have rather common ones. Use oil immersion lens at 1,000X.

Despite being a “gemmatoid” amanita, A. aprica can have the same rings of volva on the stipe base that are considered an important character for muscaria.

Clues on finding clamps are in the methodology PDF that can be downloaded from the home page of the Amanita Studies web site.

The “i” comes before the “e” in “Thiers.”

Very best,

Rod Tulloss