Monday, June 7, 2010

An edible Amanita that I'll not eat

This is the second mushroom I found on my walk today. The shiny silver metallic cap caught my attention. When I moved the grass aside to see the base of it, to my surprise I found a bright white volva and a white stem, therefore suggesting a mushroom from the Amanita genus.

Date: 06/07/2010
Location: Rockville, MD
Habitat: growing on grass, two specimens close together

Pileus diameter - 30 mm
Pileus height - 21 mm
Stipe length - 70 mm
Stipe diameter at apex - 6.7 mm
Stipe diameter at middle - 6.7 mm
Stipe diameter at base - 6.7 mm

Pileus - metallic gray, glabrous, round, convex, margin entire, striated, flesh is white, does not bruise any color, smell is non-distinctive
Hymenium - white, gilled, gills are close, free, narrow, smooth/finely serrulated
Stipe - white, central, somewhat compressed, hollow, equal, with white volva, no ring, flexible, inserted
Spore print - white

This looks like Amanita vaginata, one of the few edible amanitas. The white spore print, the presence of a white volva, metallic gray cuticle, absence of a ring and the white free gills are all very suggestive of this species. Despite the reasonably easy identification I am not brave enough to eat it and would not suggest anyone eating it. Amanitas cannot be taken lightly and a single mistake is often fatal (causing a painful and long death due to liver insufficiency which is only treatable by liver transplantation). Unless you are 100% sure of the identification, you should never ever eat amanitas (unless it is a cultivated species and you are buying it from a reliable commercial vendor). The other famous edible amanita is A. cesarea (Cesar's amanita) which is also reasonably easy to identify, but which also requires the utmost care.

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