Observation 88466: Amanita muscaria var. muscaria

When: 2011-09-16

Collection location: La foresta del Cansiglio, Cansiglio, Italy [Click for map]

Who: James Baker (cepecity)

No specimen available

This mushroom was found on a foray that Italian mycologist, Silvano Pizzardo organized with Ennio Giusti and Albert Casiero. Local area mycologists,Anna Maria Marini and Monticello Otto, identified this mushroom as Amanita muscaria var. aureola in the field. After the foray the ID was confirmed by Sivano Pizzardo, “Coordinator pro tempore” of the Federation Veneti (Mycology) Groups.

In the MO database Amanita muscaria var. aureola is shown as a yellow variant of A muscaria, while the Italian Wikipedia says “It is distinguished from Amanita muscaria by the orange hat without warts” occasionally poisoning those who mistake it for A caesarea; a better fitting description for the Italian mushroom shown here, though this one does have a few warts around the edges as well as a yellowish perimeter. I once found a group of yellow A muscaria back around year 2000 under Eucalyptus beside the SF Bay shoreline at Point Pinole Regional Park which Sardinian Amanita expert, Salvatore Curreli, told me were Amanita muscaria var. formosa.

Prior to this mushroom find, the weather had been dry so this is not a case of the warts being removed by rain.



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James provided a new observation for Amanita heterochroma….
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2012-03-03 21:27:49 CST (-0500)
muscaria var. aureola [edited]
By: R. E. Tulloss (ret)
2012-03-03 08:24:42 CST (-0500)

Just a few years back, Dr. Jozsef Geml sequenced a large number of specimens that had been identified as varieties of muscaria, many of which had been identified by experts. All the Eurasian material and a good chunk of the material from Alaska was either A. muscaria or A. regalis. Cap color was frequently not and indicator for separation of taxa even below the rank of species.

All amanitas have a volva. In the muscarioid group, lack of warts means they have been removed in some manner. In this group the surface hyphae of the pileus skin often gelatinize creating a lubricant layer on which the warts “float.” Hence, before the cap dries or after a rain resuscitates the lubricating layer, the warts can slide of or be pulled off by friction when rising through the soil. In general, absence of warts on an amanita should not be taken as indicative of genetic difference from otherwise macroscopically similar (I mean here “very similar”) taxa.

The red cap color in the “muscaria group” derives from at least two pigments. One is purple (a beta-purpurin), and one is yellow (a beta-xanthin). The human eye sees the misture as red. The pigments are not always present in the same proportion; hence, we see a range of color from nearly yellow to brilliant red. The pigments are altered by sunlight; hence, cap color can change with time. The pigments can develop their concentration in the cap skin separately and on different schedules. I collected yellow-orange capped material in Scotland that was called “aureola” by local experts. Overnight in wax paper, the cap color changed to the typical red of muscaria_. I see no evidence that the name "_aureola" applies to anything that is genetically distinct from A. muscaria var. muscaria. So I have proposed that the names be placed in synonymy. There is a lot about this and other aspects of the taxonomy of muscaria on both the brief and technical tabs of this page:


James, I need you to help me on the next paragraph. I remember someone saying on MO (maybe it was you) that they had seen A. gioiosa and/or A. heterochroma on Sardinia or Corsica in recent years. But my memory has been very poor since my daughter’s death. At any rate, the point I want to make is that there are species in the “muscaria group” that are apparently quite distinct from muscaria. The above two names appear to represent two such taxa in the Mediterranean region of Europe. Amanita regalis is such a taxon in northern Europe. In North and Central America, there are a number of other distinct taxa in the group. This latter group has been discussed so much on MO that I will not repeat anything about them.

Here are some links. Not all the pages have been elevated to the same level of quality. For some of the URLs below, you’ll have to cut and paste in your browsers because I cannot create this series of links on MO this morning. Something is broken in the Textile parser, I think.









Also, I suggest that interested persons may like to see all the clamp-bearing species of sect. Amanita grouped together here


very best,


Created: 2012-03-02 20:31:26 CST (-0500)
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