The Genus Amanita

The mushrooms in Amanita embrace among the world’s greatest recognized and most lovely fungi. Amanita species are acknowledged by their (normally) pale gills, that are free from the stem; their white spore prints; the presence of a common veil that usually creates a volva or different distinctive options on the stem; and their roughly dry caps (versus the slimy caps within the associated genus Limacella). Many species of Amanita have warts or patches on their caps, and lots of have a hoop on the stem.

Generally, amanitas will not be as exhausting to determine as many gilled mushrooms are, although there are tough and irritating areas inside the genus–particularly among the many white species. Loads of good literature is offered for the genus (see the references checklist beneath), and identification for a lot of species is predicated on a set of pretty simply ascertained, cheap characters (“cheap” versus the characters in Russula, for instance, the place refined variations in style or the “peelability” of the cap cuticle are operative).

Amanita jacksonii

Amanita identification usually begins with the bottom of the stem, which implies that you will want to dig your specimens out of the bottom with a pocket knife. Do that rigorously, as a result of among the probably essential options are fragile and simply destroyed. The form of the stem base is essential. Is there a bulb, or does the stem taper step by step? If there’s a bulb, is it dramatic, or much less abruptly swollen? Does the stem “radicate,” forming a root that extends into the bottom? Additionally essential is the disposition of the common veil, which might fluctuate considerably. Listed here are illustrations of among the basic amanita stem bases:

Additional up the stem, search for a hoop; many amanitas have a partial veil that leaves a hoop on the stem, however some, like members of the Amanita vaginata species group, don’t. Notice whether or not or not the ring is fragile and ephemeral, or sturdy–and whether or not it develops stains or discolorations.

A couple of amanitas are “rubescent”–the time period in Mycologese for mushrooms that blush pink or reddish when bruised, or develop reddish discolorations with age. Amanita rubescens and Amanita novinupta are among the many mostly encountered “blushers.” Some species bruise and discolor brown, like Amanita brunnescens, whose chiseled stem base is illustrated above.

The colour of the cap is in fact essential, as is the cap margin, which can be lined with outstanding striations. The common veil is commonly evident on the cap, within the type of warts or patches. Some amanitas have attribute odors, however you shouldn’t try to find out the style of your Amanita specimen; there isn’t any occasion in the whole genus the place style is the only informative character that separates two species, and tasting amanitas is harmful.

Microscopic characters are generally required for achievement in amanita identification, however the mandatory microscope work is commonly centered round easy evaluation of spores, somewhat than extra erudite microfeatures that require substantial microscope expertise. The form of the spores is essential, in addition to their dimensions and their response to the iodine in Melzer’s reagent: “amyloid” spores have bluish to blackish partitions in Melzer’s, whereas “inamyloid” spores don’t.

Lastly, because the nice majority of amanitas are mycorrhizal, make sure to notice what bushes are rising within the neighborhood of your specimens. Often this info might help within the identification process–although it’s true that amanitas look like rather less choosy about their mycorrhizal associates than members of some genera.

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