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Amanita volvata

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

by Michael Kuo

I call it the Queen Amidala mushroom, since it hails from section Amidella of the genus Amanita. The section as traditionally defined consists of amanitas with amyloid spores, cap margins that are decorated with fragments of universal veil, and sacklike volvas. There are only a few amidellas in North America, and members of the Amanita volvata species group are the most commonly encountered.

Amanita volvata can be recognized by its sturdy, flaring, sacklike volva; the lack of a ring on the stem; the softly scaly whitish cap surface, and the tendency for surfaces to bruise and discolor brownish on handling and with age. It is associated with both conifers and hardwoods in eastern North America (but see the comments below for a western version of the species).

Amanita guru Rod Tulloss (2013) has separated several putative species from the broader, field-guide-ish concept of Amanita volvata: a stocky western version with surfaces that stain pinkish, then brown; and a small, eastern North American putative species with sparser veil remnants and a lined cap margin, probably corresponding to the illustrated mushrooms). According to Tulloss, microscopic differences (spore and subhymenium morphology) separate these putative species definitively.


Ecology: Mycorrhizal with hardwoods or conifers; usually growing alone or scattered; summer and fall; widely distributed in eastern North America.

Cap: 3.5-6 cm; convex, expanding to planoconvex or flat; dry; whitish, or somewhat brownish over the center; covered with randomly distributed whitish, soft patches that may discolor slightly brownish; the margin not lined, or slightly lined.

Gills: Free from the stem or slightly attached to it; close or crowded; white to creamy; with frequent short-gills.

Stem: 4-9 cm long; 0.5-1 cm thick; tapering slightly to apex; whitish, becoming brownish in places on handling or with age; slightly shaggy; lacking a ring; base encased in a thick, white, sacklike volva that often discolors brownish with age.

Flesh: White; not staining on exposure.

Odor: Not distinctive.

Chemical Reactions: KOH on cap surface negative.

Spore Print: White.

Microscopic Features: Spores 7-10 x 4.5-7 µ; ellipsoid; smooth; amyloid. Basidia 4-spored; unclamped. Pileipellis a slightly gelatinized cutis of elements 3-9 µ wide. Lamellar trama bilateral; subhymenium ramose or with slightly inflated cells.

REFERENCES: (Peck, 1872) Lloyd, 1898. (Saccardo, 1887; Kauffman, 1918; Weber & Smith, 1985; Jenkins, 1986; Phillips, 1991/2005; Lincoff, 1992.) Herb. Kuo 07180701.

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Amanita volvata

Amanita volvata

Amanita volvata

Amanita volvata

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Kuo, M. (2013, May). Amanita volvata. Retrieved from the MushroomExpert.Com Web site: