Observation 81166: Amanita polypyramis (Berk. & M.A. Curtis) Sacc.

When: 2011-10-29

Collection location: Rock Island State Park, Warren Co., Tennessee, USA [Click for map]

Who: Brian Adamo (adamo588)

Specimen available

8.5cm cap diameter, solitary, growing on ground among pines in mixed forest. This late bloomer is probably the last I’ll see this year. I dried it, if anyone wants it.



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I went to 80412…
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2011-11-01 18:02:36 EDT (-0400)

Here’s another thought for Nimmo.

Bas organized the species in section Lepidella to a large degree by the structure of the volva. So he put everything with a similar volva and certain other similarities (like clamps on the basidia or no clamps on the basidia) into groups that he called “stirpes” (that’s the plural of “stirps” and you pronounce the last syllable (-pes) as “peas”). So you could check out Amanita rhopalopus (and everything in Bas’ stirps Rhopalopus) and A. chlorinosma (and everything in stirps Chlorinosma) and A. longipes (and everything in stirps Longipes).  I’ll check for a more complete list of stuff with powdery (comes-off-on-fingers) volva. One thing you’ll find is that some of these little (bottom-level) groupings of species contain species that are morphologically similar but/and come from different continents.

My thanks for Brian’s nice words. I would say, however, the site may (for hundreds of species) not contain what one person or another really wants to know…even though the needed information is available. We are trying to get more data up, but we have hundreds of pages to go on this project (and some of them are really really hard to do because there is so much confusion about some things in the literatue…an easy page means there’s not much known about the taxon in question), and it is probable that we’re missing something that you or another person might want. We are willing to shift priorities to complete an empty techtab (for example) and have done so for the squeaky wheels who contact us. More people should squeak. So we’re working on a “humans only” version of “contact us” for the WAO site.

Anyway, we only know what people want/need if they tell us. So…it’s good to squeak.

Very best,


By: Nimmo (barky)
2011-11-01 15:50:45 EDT (-0400)

Rod, that pyramidal/powdery distinction is interesting.

My specimens were certainly the latter and seem maybe more like A. rhopalopus.

Thanks Brian and Rod for responding. Here’s a link to my powdery observation. http://mushroomobserver.org/80412

Nope, Not Powdery
By: Brian Adamo (adamo588)
2011-11-01 10:24:32 EDT (-0400)

Nimmo, the warts are pretty well attached on the examples of A.polypyramis I have encountered. You will find some tattered remnants of the partial veil scattered around the base on fully opened ones, but that’s about it. In my short experience I have come to the realization that identifying Amanitas can be hard work. The usual field guides can be sketchy at best. Go to Rod Tulloss’ site http://www.amanitaceae.org/. You will find everything you need to know about Amanita there (if your head doesn’t explode first!).

Your observation
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2011-11-01 07:22:49 EDT (-0400)

Nimmo, please let us know the MO observation number for your collection.

The difference in structure of the volva was one of the key elements that Dr. Bas used in his study of section Lepidella. When the proportion of hyphae in the volva is low (compared to the proportion of inflated cells), the volva is more powdery. When the structure in the volva has enough hyphae and is orderly (the cells are arranged in vertical rows in the warts), then the warts are more likely to be pyramidal. When the structure is disordered and hyphae are relatively few in the volva, the volva has a very powdery (stick-to-your-fingers) form. Your posting hits on the approach by which Dr. Bas was able to bring order to section Lepidella based on microscopic anatomy. Quite a significant step in the history of morphological taxonomy of the Amanitaceae.

Amanita daucipes and A. polypyramis have strong vertical orientation in the volval cells on the cap. Infamously powdery caps in the eastern U.S. include A. chlorinosma, A. rhopalopus, and A. longipes (for example).


Was it powdery?
By: Nimmo (barky)
2011-10-31 22:40:05 EDT (-0400)

Hi Brian, I’m wondering about the difference between A. polypyramis and the A. daucipes relative I found in North Carolina (which doesn’t have a specific name yet). Mine had much more of a deep “root” or foot than yours seems to.

The A. sect lepidella I found was VERY powdery all over, even to the point of having powder all around it on the ground, as if it had exploded from the partial veil. Was yours like that?

Nice images, Brian!
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2011-10-31 22:31:51 EDT (-0400)


Created: 2011-10-31 19:59:54 EDT (-0400)
Last modified: 2011-11-01 10:55:45 EDT (-0400)
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