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Amanita species 03: The Rocky Mountain White Panther

[ Basidiomycetes > Agaricales > Amanitaceae > Amanita . . . ]

by Michael Kuo

Here's my hypothesis: that the whitish member of the Amanita pantherina species group found in the Rocky Mountains is not actually the same as the eastern North American species Amanita multisquamosa, which is frequently the name that gets applied--and that it is, in fact, an unnamed species awaiting official treatment by an Amanita taxonomist. For now, let's call it the "Rocky Mountain white panther." The species is a common find in monsoon season from middle elevations to treeline, and is treated as Amanita pantherina var. multisquamosa by Evenson (1997) and as a "hybrid" of Amanita pantherina and Amanita gemmata by States (1990). I have not seen the West-Coast white panther, reported by several authors (e.g. Arora, 1986) as appearing rarely in Northern California and the Pacific Northwest; it may--or may not--be the same as the Rocky Mountain version.

My collections, from southwest Colorado, are described below and illustrated to the right. I have seen, but not collected, what appears to be the same species on the Front Range in Colorado, in Larimer County.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with undetermined trees (my collections have been made under quaking aspen, Gambel oak, ponderosa pine, and subalpine fir); growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; July and August after monsoon rains; Colorado Rocky Mountains.

Cap: 6-9 cm; convex becoming planoconvex; dull, pale yellow when in the button stage, but soon cream colored to pale tan to nearly white overall, with a yellowish or slightly brownish center; sticky when fresh; adorned with cottony, whitish warts that may disappear easily; bald; the margin finely lined for about 5 mm at maturity.

Gills: Free from the stem or nearly so; close; white; with frequent short-gills.

Stem: To 10 x 2 cm; tapered slightly to the apex; adorned with a flimsy, white, skirtlike ring that often falls away; white; somewhat shaggy or hairy; terminating in a small, nearly round basal bulb that is encased in an adherent white volva that usually folds over to form a collarlike rim on the upper edge of the bulb.

Flesh: White; unchanging when sliced.

Odor: Not distinctive, or slightly reminiscent of potatoes.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 9-12 x 6-8 µ; ellipsoid; smooth; inamyloid. Basidia 4-spored; unclamped. Pileipellis an ixocutis of elements 2-5 µ wide. Lamellar trama bilateral; subhymenium inflated-ramose to cellular.

REFERENCES: States, 1990; Evenson, 1997. Herb. Kuo 07260601, 08160702, 08160712.

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Amanita sp.

Amanita sp.

Amanita sp.

Amanita sp.

Amanita sp.

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