Trial key to the species of AMANITA in the Pacific Northwest

Prepared for the Pacific Northwest Key Council
By Janet Lindgren (Oregon Mycological Society) Revised 1998
Copyright © 1998 Pacific Northwest Key Council




Key to Species








This is an easy, but not a foolproof method, for identifying an Amanita. If you have several complete specimens, at different stages of development, it is often possible to determine the species listed below. There are more than 30 species of Amanita in the Pacific Northwest. Some are not described or known well enough to be included here. Others are listed as a "group" because several species may actually have similar macroscopic features and key out together. Additional species found in old literature have not been seen in recent years and therefore were not included.

The color of the cap should not be confused with the color of the universal veil, which may cover the top surface, and be of a different color. This veil usually breaks into one or more pieces, referred to as a patch or warts, which can adhere to the cap surface and it also forms a cup, sac, rings, or leaves loose remnants at the base of the stipe. The remains of the universal veil that are found around the base are called a volva.

All of these amanitas have smooth white spores; the gills are usually adnate to free when young and free at maturity. The stipe is central.

Do not consider this key as a guide to the edibility of any Amanita, as none in this genus should be eaten without positive identification by someone who knows the species well.




1a Cap some shade of gray

1b Cap not predominantly gray

2a Cap and rounded base of stipe gray to gray-brown, and covered with grayish, powdery (farinaceous) universal veil remnants

................................................................................Amanita farinosa sensu auct. PNW

 CAP 2.5 - 6.5 cm broad; convex to plane or depressed; gray to gray-brown and covered with granular to farinose universal veil remnants; margin striate; flesh whitish. ODOR not distinct. TASTE mild. GILLS close to subdistant; white; edges fimbriate; lamellulae truncate. STIPE 3 - 8 cm long, 0.4 - 0.8 cm broad; whitish to gray; granular to smooth in age. VOLVA seen as farinose granules on a bulbous base. ANNULUS none. HABIT and HABITAT grows solitary with conifers; fall; uncommon. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES 6.3 - 9.4 x 4.5 - 7.9 m, globose to subglobose; not amyloid. REMARKS Pacific Northwest specimens of A. farinosa are larger than from other parts of the country.Amanita farinosa
Amanita farinosa
Michael Beug

2b Cap gray to gray-brown with or without patches of white to gray universal veil remnants; volval remnants thin and/or membranous, not powdery

3a Cap usually with a violet cast and grayish warts; volva fragile, often missing from large abrupt bulb at base of stipe

................................................................................Amanita porphyria (Alb. & Schw.:Fr.) Alb. & Schw.

CAP 5 -12 cm; convex to obtusely conic and plane or subumbonate at maturity; gray to brownish-gray, often entire mushroom has a violet cast; thin warts or a patch of gray universal veil on surface; no striations on margin; flesh white, except gray to olive beneath surface. ODOR like raw potatoes. TASTE not recorded. GILLS close to subdistant; white to grayish, staining gray when bruised; lamellulae numerous, short, attenuate. STIPE 5 -12 cm long, 0.6 - 1.6 cm broad at apex, tapers slightly upwards; gray chevron pattern on surface; basal bulb rounded, marginate. VOLVA when present seen as thin, gray patches on margin of bulb. ANNULUS superior to median, gray, membranous, thin, often adhering to stipe. HABIT and HABITAT solitary with conifers or mixed forest; common; fall. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES 7.2 - 10.3 x 6.7 -10.1 m, globose; amyloid.Amanita porphyria
Amanita porphyria
Steve Trudell

3b Cap smooth or with flat patches of universal veil remnants, margin striate; volva saclike or as a constricted sac at base of stipe

................................................................................ Amanita vaginata sensu auct. and Amanita constricta group

(It is uncertain whether Amanita vaginata actually occurs here, but there is a gray to gray-brown species, or even several species, that will match the macroscopic description for A. vaginata. Actually an illustration with the original description showed it as being white. The most obvious difference between A. vaginata and A. constricta group is that the volva on A. vaginata is attached only at the bottom of the stipe, and for A. constricta, the volva is firmly attached part way up the stipe and flares open at the top.)

A. vaginata sensu auct.

CAP 3-10 cm broad; convex to obtusely conic to subglobose, becoming plane with an umbo; color gray to gray-brown; smooth or with a patch of universal veil tissue; margin with deep striations. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS close to subdistant, white to grayish; edge fimbriate, white or gray. STIPE 7 - 15 cm long, 0.5 -2 cm wide, equal or tapering upwards; surface striate near top, white to grayish; not bulbous. VOLVA membranous, saccate, white to whitish, often with rust colored stains. ANNULUS none. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to scattered with hardwoods and conifers; usually fruits in fall throughout the PNW. EDIBILITY not known to be toxic in PNW. SPORES size varies by different authorities, 7 12.0 x 6.0 9.0 m, globose to broadly ovoid; not amyloid.Amanita vaginata
Amanita vaginata
Fred Stevens (MykoWeb)

(There are several undescribed species with constricted volvas that can best be separated microscopically. Therefore, A. constricta is listed as a group. )

A. constricta Thiers and Ammirati

CAP 5 -13 cm broad; convex to plane in age with an umbo; gray to brownish-gray often with inconspicuous radial streaks; viscid when moist; patch or patches of universal veil often left on surface; margin deeply striate; context next to surface gray to drab, white below. ODOR and TASTE not distinctive. GILLS close to crowded; white becoming grayish; edge usually gray, fimbriate, lamellulae in several lengths. STIPE 10 - 16 (- 20) cm long, 0.7 - 1.7 cm broad; equal or tapering downward, no bulb; fine gray scales cover a white surface which darkens when bruised. VOLVA membranous, adhering to lower section of stipe and flaring out above constricted area, white to pale buff, bruising reddish (rust), interior gray. ANNULUS none. HABIT and HABITAT Singly to scattered in mixed forests, fruits in the fall. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES 9.6 - 12.8 x 8 - 10.4m, globose to ovoid; not amyloid.Amanita constricta group
Amanita constricta group
Steve Trudell

4a (1b) Cap predominantly a shade of white, with or without staining

4b Cap colored a pale to dark shade of green, red, orange, yellow or brown

5a Cap smooth with striations and infrequently with a patch or pieces of universal veil on the surface; volva membranous, saccate on a slender stipe base; no annulus

................................................................................Amanita "alba" sensu auct.

(A."alba"; is not a valid name because it was previously used for A. ovoidea but is now often incorrectly applied to any white, vaginate amanita. It is used here for lack of a better name.)

CAP 5 - 15 cm broad; convex to subglobose, in age broadly convex to umbonate; white to whitish with pinkish buff stains or spots; surface moist to subviscid, glabrous or with a patch of whitish universal veil; margin incurved to plane or uplifted, with striations; context white. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS close to subdistant; white, rarely pinkish in age; edge fimbriate when young. STIPE 7 - 13 cm long, 1.0 - 2.5 cm wide, equal or tapering upwards, no bulb; white, often with buff stains; surface smooth or slightly granular. VOLVA membranous, saccate, sheathing, attached only at the base, white or with rust to brown stains. ANNULUS none. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to gregarious in mixed woods; rare. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES 9.5 - 12 x 9.5 - 11.5 m, globose to subovoid; not amyloid.

5b Cap smooth or covered with warts, patches, or floccose remnants of universal veil; volva conspicuous or evanescent around an enlarged or pointed base; annulus present or evanescent

6a Cap smooth or silky; not striate, rarely with thin patches of universal veil tissue; volva saccate over an abruptly bulbous base; annulus present

................................................................................Amanita ocreata Peck

CAP 5 -12 cm broad, hemispheric to plano-convex; white to occasionally pale pinkish-buff; surface shiny when dry, viscid when moist, infrequently with a patch; margin incurved to slightly flaring in age, usually without striations; context white. ODOR unpleasant when old. TASTE DO NOT TASTE. GILLS attached when young by a slight decurrent tooth; broad; close to subdistant; white; edges not floccose; no staining; lamellulae subtruncate to attenuate. STIPE 6 - 20 cm long, 1 - 3 cm thick at apex; equal to tapering slightly upwards; white, sometimes brownish stains; fine powder or scaly near apex, flesh white, center solid to stuffed; abruptly bulbous to subglobose bulb. VOLVA large, thin, limbate and often buried in the soil. ANNULUS superior, membranous, fragile, often disappearing; white. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to gregarious; found mainly near water in sandy soil with deciduous and possibly coniferous trees; known from only a few areas; fruits in the spring, just after the lowland morel season and in the same habitat. EDIBILITY DEADLY POISONOUS. In the past identified as A. verna or A. virosa. SPORES 9 - 14 x 7 - 10 m, broadly ellipsoid to nearly round; amyloid. REMARKS Flesh of cap turns bright yellow in KOH. Also see A. phalloides # 13a.Amanita ocreata
Amanita ocreata
Steve Trudell

6b Cap surface not smooth and silky when young

7a Cap white to slightly tan on disc and covered with warts; volva as concentric rings of universal veil tissue on a bulbous base

................................................................................Amanita muscaria var. alba Peck

CAP 4 21 cm broad, convex to plane; silvery white to tannish; subviscid when moist; covered with angular, pallid to tannish warts; margin striate; context white to yellow under top surface. ODOR and TASTE not known. GILLS free to adnexed; moderately broad; crowded; white to pale cream; lamellulae numerous, truncate. STIPE 5 14 cm long; tapering upwards from a sub-globose to ovoid basal bulb; white to pallid, stains yellow when bruised. VOLVA pallid to tannish floccose patches form a ring or rings at the apex of the basal bulb. ANNULUS median to superior; whitish with yellowish edge; membranous; may be lost or plastered to stipe. HABIT and HABITAT gregarious; in mixed woods and landscaped areas; uncommon. EDIBILITY TOXIC. SPORES 7.9 14.1 x 6.3 9.4 m, broadly ellipsoid to elongate; not amyloid.

7b Cap floccose, areolate, or smooth when mature, with or without staining

8a Young specimens floccose, chalk white, no staining; marginate, clavate or fusiform base; volva often evanescent

8b Young specimens white or off-white, with or without staining or tint of color; base enlarged or pointed

9a Young specimens short, and with a marginate or clavate base

................................................................................Amanita silvicola Kauffman

CAP 5 - 12 cm broad, convex to plane; white; surface usually cottony to powdery; margin incurved and appendiculate when young, not striate; flesh white. ODOR fishy when old. TASTE not distinctive. GILLS close; white; edges floccose. STIPE 5 - 10 cm long, 1-2.5 cm thick, usually rather stout, tapers upward; surface powdery or with cottony scales; flesh white. VOLVA white and cottony, leaving only a slight rim of tissue on a distinct bulb which is marginate to clavate in age. ANNULUS evanescent or as white floccose zone on stipe. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to small groups; usually in conifer forests; common in the fall. EDIBILITY While no poisoning cases have been recorded in the PNW for A. silvicola it should not be eaten because of its close resemblance to A. smithiana which is toxic. SPORES 8 - 12 x 4.5 - 6 m ellipsoid; amyloid.Amanita silvicola
Amanita silvicola
Catherine Ardrey

9b Young specimens tall, may become smooth in age and with a fusiform, often deeply radicating base

................................................................................Amanita smithiana Bas

CAP 5 - 17 cm broad, hemispherical to plano-convex, sometimes almost subumbonate; white, sometimes universal veil remnants darken in hot, dry weather; subviscid to tacky when moist; margin appendiculate, not striate, incurved at first, then flaring upward; context white. ODOR many specimens have no odor while others have one that is strong and unpleasant. TASTE mild to somewhat sweet. GILLS close to crowded; white to ivory or pale pinkish-buff; edges white, fimbriate and/or floccose; lamellulae truncate to attenuate. STIPE 6 - 16 cm long, 1 - 3.5 cm wide, tapers upward from a large spindle shaped (fusiform) base; white, bruising slightly where handled; surface decorated with floccose fibrils that come off in handling or in rain; flesh white. VOLVA evanescent or as patches of tissue near top of bulb. ANNULUS superior; white; floccose, ragged and sometimes evanescent. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to gregarious; grows with conifers in or near rotten wood; common; fruits in fall throughout Pacific Northwest. EDIBILITY TOXIC, causes kidney failure. SPORES 11 - 12.5 x 7.5 - 9.5 m, broadly ellipsoid to subovoid; amyloid. REMARKS This amanita gives a positive red-violet reaction with syringaldazine indicating the presence of laccase, an enzyme that breaks down lignin. A. smithiana also has a long, radicating "root" which is seldom collected. Amanita smithiana
Amanita smithiana
Dick Bishop

10a (8b) Young specimens white with a rosy pink tint, becoming brownish in age; volva as rings, on a short, close cup, or evanescent

................................................................................Amanita novinupta Tulloss & Lindgren

CAP 3 - 15 cm broad, hemispheric at first, then convex to plane; white with a pink or rosy tint beneath the surface, may become brownish in dry weather; surface chalky or powdery becoming smoother or cracked in age; margin without striations, sometimes appendiculate; context white, worm holes become reddish-brown. ODOR faintly fungoid. TASTE not distinctive. GILLS close to crowded, white to off-white, becoming pinkish when bruised; lamellulae truncate to attenuate, plentiful. STIPE 2 -15 (-18) long, 1 - 3.5 (-5) cm wide; white, bruising pink, rose, or brown; surface powdery, often with scales and cracking. VOLVA often not well defined, rings or patches on a slightly enlarged base, often staining similarly to stipe. ANNULUS superior, usually with reddish tints; membranous, skirt-like, persistent. HABIT and HABITAT gregarious under Oregon white oak (Quercus garryana) in landscaped areas and probably with other trees; uncommon in the Pacific Northwest; fruits in April. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES (6.2-) 8.2 - 10.8 (-14.8) x (4.2-) 5.5 - 7.2 (-8.8) m ellipsoid; amyloid. Amanita novinupta
Amanita novinupta
Janet Lindgren

10b Young specimens off-white or with some color to the universal veil

11a Cap and stipe creamy white to very pale yellow; universal veil white and floccose

................................................................................Amanita "alpina" A. H. Smith nom. prov.

CAP 3 - 9 cm broad, convex expanding to plane; whitish, cream to pale yellow, not bruising; slightly viscid with thin to floccose warts; margin with short striations only in extreme age; flesh white. ODOR not distinctive. GILLS broad; close to subdistant; white to creamy, not staining. STIPE 3 - 9 cm long, 1 - 2.5 cm wide at apex; colored like the cap; surface powdery; with a rounded bulb at base. VOLVA short, free margin, not inrolled. ANNULUS evanescent on many, others with partial rings above the volva. HABIT and HABITAT scattered with conifers; at present known only from three sites in Idaho, Washington and British Columbia; fruits in summer; specimens hardly break through the surface, and shed their spores in the duff. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES 9 - 12 x 6 - 7.5 m, ellipsoid; not amyloid.

11b Cap white to off-white; universal veil colored

12a Cap areolate with gray to brown universal veil; volva evanescent or as a ring on a pointed base

................................................................................Amanita "pruittii" A. H. Smith nom prov.

CAP up to 15 cm broad, obtuse; white to off-white; surface rough with dark gray-brown scales of various sizes; margin incurved at first, uplifted in age, no striations, appendiculate; context white. ODOR and TASTE not distinctive when raw, offensive and bitter when heated. GILLS close; broad; white, becoming yellow in age or in drying; edges irregular and browning when dried; lamellulae numerous, attenuate. STIPE up to 15 x 4 cm, broadest near the midpoint, tapering down to a rounded point; white, sometimes staining ochraceous; upper portion smooth, "floccose tags" around lower part; flesh white. VOLVA mealy pieces of tissue in the form of grayish scales form obscure rings on the base. ANNULUS evanescent. HABIT and HABITAT gregarious in Sudan grass and possibly other grassy areas; fruits in the fall. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES (7.2-) 8.2 11.8 (-14.0) x (6.2-) 6.8 - 9.0 (-11.2) m, smooth, amyloid, subglobose to broadly ellipsoid. REMARKS This species was fruiting heavily at the Fern Ridge Reservoir in 1975 and for a few years thereafter. It may be the same species as David Aroras "Anonymous Amanita." The above description was taken from notes written to A. H. Smith by Ben Pruitt and from unpublished correspondence from Rod Tulloss who worked on dried material from the herbarium at Michigan. To my knowledge, this species has not been seen in recent years.

12b Cap dull white to pinkish-buff and often areolate; universal veil, when present, as thin patches with a pale salmon tint

................................................................................Amanita armillariiformis Trueblood and Jenkins

CAP 4 - 16 cm broad, convex to plane at maturity; dull white to dull pinkish-buff; slightly viscid to dry, glabrous or with thin patches of universal veil tissue that have a pale salmon tint and form irregular areolae; margin incurved when young, appendiculate; context white. ODOR strong, medicinal, unpleasant. TASTE not tried. GILLS subdistant; broad; cream to pinkish or pale tan; two tiers of lamellulae. STIPE 3.5 - 9 cm long, 1.7 - 2.4 cm wide; equal or expanding towards the base; white and very firm; fine tufts of fibrils and scales over lower surface. VOLVA seen as white to pale salmon remnants, concentric rings, partial rings or patches around the base. ANNULUS thin, membranous, white, superior, adhering to margin or falling away completely at maturity. HABIT and HABITAT one to several in dry areas among sagebrush, mustards, cheat grass and usually near aspen, Douglas fir or willow; fruits late March to mid-June. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES 10 - 13 x 6.2 8.2m, elliptic to somewhat elongate; amyloid. REMARKS Another species, A. prairiicola Peck (also known as A. malheurensis Trueblood, Miller & Jenkins) is found in similar habitats. It has a pale tan cap, a brownish tint to the universal veil and similar amyloid spores.

13a (4b) Cap light green, olive or rarely white; volva membranous, saccate, and white around a basal bulb

................................................................................Amanita phalloides (Fr.: Fr.) Link

CAP 4 - 16 cm broad, convex to plane; green to brownish olive, yellow-green, rarely white; smooth and shiny when dry, tacky when moist with the appearance of innate, radiating fibers, occasionally with a thin patch or patches of white universal veil; margin usually not striate; flesh white. ODOR sickening sweet or like raw potatoes. TASTE probably good, as people have eaten it, but IT CAN BE DEADLY - DONT TRY IT! GILLS close; white to faintly greenish; lamellulae numerous, attenuate. STIPE 5 - 18 cm long, 1 - 3 cm thick, tapering upward, or equal with a globose to subglobose base, white with fibrous or scaly ornamentation that is white or colored like the cap. VOLVA white, membranous, limbate, lobed, not thick. ANNULUS superior, white, membranous, skirtlike, fragile, and may disappear in age. HABIT and HABITAT scattered or in groups, often growing with filbert or chestnut trees in the Pacific Northwest; fruits summer to fall. EDIBILITY TOXIC. SPORES 9 14 x 7 10 m, broadly ellipsoid to nearly round, amyloid. REMARKS It is thought that this species came into the area on the roots of nut trees brought from Europe as it is found in and around old orchards.Amanita phalloides
Amanita phalloides
Janet Lindgren

13b Cap colored a pale to dark shade of red, orange, yellow, or brown

14a (1b) Cap red to orange, or very pale pinkish-buff; volva as concentric rings or as a membranous, open cup

14b Cap a shade of yellow or brown

15a Cap red to orange, covered with numerous warts; volva seen as concentric rings around an enlarged base

................................................................................A. muscaria var. flavivolvata (Singer) Jenkins

CAP 5 - 17 (-30) cm broad, convex to plane, often depressed in age; red to orange (different varieties may be white, yellow, tan or a combination of these colors); subviscid when moist, glabrous under numerous, pale yellowish-tan, floccose warts; margin striate, at least in age; flesh white with yellow to reddish color just under the cap surface. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS white to pale cream, crowded, broad; lamellulae numerous and truncate. STIPE 5 - 13.5 (-20) cm long, 1 - 3 (-4) cm thick; tapering upward from a bulbous base; white to cream, becoming tannish when handled; surface smooth above annulus, ragged to scaly below; flesh white to cream, center stuffed. VOLVA seen as concentric rings or patches of creamy to yellowish-tan tissue around the enlarged base. ANNULUS median to superior; white with yellowish edge; membranous; often falling away. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to densely gregarious; in mixed forests, and gardens from sea level to over 4,000; fruits late summer to fall and is easy to recognize with its red cap, common. EDIBILITY toxic. SPORES (7.5-) 9.1 12.8 (-19.0) x (5.5-) 6.6 8.6 (-11.5)m broadly ellipsoid to ellipsoid; not amyloid. REMARKS A. muscaria var. muscaria is described as having white warts or universal veil tissue; we do not seem to have this variety. A. muscaria var. flavivolvata
A muscaria var flavivolvata
Catherine Ardrey

15b Cap pale orange to pinkish-buff, usually with one large, thick patch of universal veil; volva is a membranous, loose cup

................................................................................Amanita velosa (Pk.) Lloyd

CAP 3 - 12 (-15) cm broad, oval to convex and finally plane; color fades from light orange to salmon, or pale pinkish-buff, orange-buff or rarely white; viscid when moist; smooth; usually with a white patch or several large thick pieces of universal veil; margin striate; flesh thick, white. ODOR pungent when old. TASTE when cooked is sweet and excellent. GILLS close; white turning dull pinkish; lamellulae subtruncate to truncate. STIPE 5 - 15 cm long, 0.5 - 2.5 cm thick; equal or tapering upward; white or tinged with cap color; upper portion powdery, lower end smooth. VOLVA membranous, thick, saccate, white and pale pinkish inside, usually buried or obscure. ANNULUS usually absent or just a fibrous zone on the stipe. HABIT and HABITAT scattered to gregarious with various species of oak in southern Oregon and northern California; fruits in the spring. It grows out and away from the trees where it is not shaded. EDIBILITY While this is an excellent edible mushroom, it is not one for beginners because of the similarities it has to A. ocreata and other toxic species. SPORES 8.5 - 12.5 x 6 - 10 m.

16a (14b) Cap pale to dark or bright yellow, yellow-orange, yellow-brown

16b Cap pale to dark brown, rust, or tan

17a Cap bright yellow with numerous warts; volva seen as concentric rings around an enlarged base

................................................................................Amanita muscaria var. formosa sensu Thiers

(Dr. Rolf Singer and others have said that what has been called Amanita muscaria var. formosa here on the West Coast, is not the same as the European mushroom that has this name. We do have a yellow-capped amanita that matches the description for A. muscaria except for the color. Until a description is published, the name A. muscaria var. formosa is being used, even though it is not correct. See the description for A. muscaria var. flavivolvata at # 15a.)

17b Cap pale to dark yellow, yellow-orange or yellow-brown, with or without pieces of universal veil on the surface; volva saccate, cup-like, or close fitting

18a Cap pale to light yellow or pale golden-yellow with flattened warts or a large patch; volva close-fitting with a short collar, or large, membranous and saccate

18b Cap bright yellow, yellow-orange, or yellow-brown with a yellow margin

19a Cap with many small warts or patches; volva short, close, and with a collar on an enlarged base; fruits summer to fall (also see A. pantherina group # 24a)

................................................................................Amanita gemmata group

(This is probably another misused name. It actually covers a group of similar, but often variable, yellow capped, often small, summer to fall fruiting amanitas. If the specimen does not have an annulus, it is called A. gemmata var. exannulata. If the specimen has a double, nearly basal, annulus and a short, tapered, rooting base, it may be A. breckonii. This entire group is considered toxic. Some specimens also appear to merge with A. pantherina, as a whole color range from yellow to brown can be found in one group. The following description combines features described by Western authors who know this group.)

CAP 3 - 10 cm broad, convex to plane; creamy to pale yellow, golden yellow to almost buff, slightly darker at the center; surface viscid to tacky when moist, with thin to floccose white or dirty white patches or warts; margin striate, flesh white. ODOR not distinct. TASTE not noted. GILLS close; white; narrowing towards the stipe; edges may be floccose; lamellulae truncate. STIPE 4 - 13 cm long, 0.05 - 2 cm thick, tapering upward from an enlarged base, apex often expanded; white to pale cream; smooth above the annulus, floccose-scaly towards the base; flesh white, center hollow to stuffed. VOLVA short, close fitting with a collar-like or free rim, may also break up into loose patches around the subglobose basal bulb; white. ANNULUS if present, superior to median; membranous, fragile, skirtlike, edge thicker; often evanescent. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to scattered in conifer or mixed woods; late summer through fall; common. SPORES 8 - 13 x 6 - 9 m, ellipsoid; not amyloid. EDIBILITY toxic.Amanita gemmata group
Amanita gemmata group
Steve Trudell

19b Cap usually with one large patch; volva as a membranous open cup; fruits in the spring

................................................................................No name

(Once commonly called A. calyptroderma. That name, however, is a synonym of A. lanei (= A. calyptrata; see # 20b.) This unnamed taxon seems to me to be a distinct species. It fruits in the spring, rather than fall, has a fishy odor, and differs in color and size. Therefore, I key them out separately. There is also another name, A. calyptratoides, which applies to a more slender species with a gray-brown cap, a tiny annulus, and a waxy looking stipe. I do not believe it occurs in the PNW. The following description is from my notes and data from Rod Tulloss.)

CAP 6 - 12 cm broad, hemispheric to convex to planoconvex, sometimes depressed in age; pale yellow to almost white; surface viscid or tacky when moist, smooth, shiny and with a large, white or brownish stained patch; margin with short striations; flesh white, shading yellowish just under surface, may darken when cut or bruised. ODOR like old fish, unpleasant. TASTE reportedly good, if you can get it past your nose. GILLS crowded; white to cream; edge white, fimbriate or floccose; not bruising. STIPE 5.5 - 12 cm long, 1.2 - 3.7 cm thick, equal or tapering upward from the midpoint; white to cream; surface smooth or fibrillose below annulus; flesh white to yellowish; hollow to stuffed. VOLVA open, saccate, membranous, sometimes collapsing around stipe; white with brownish staining. ANNULUS superior; white to yellowish; membranous, thin, often evanescent. HABIT and HABITAT gregarious in areas with Douglas fir; not common; fruits in the spring. EDIBILITY not known to be toxic. SPORES (9.1-) 9.8 - 12.8 (-17.2) x 5.6 - 7.8 (-9.8) m, ellipsoid to elongate, rarely cylindrical.

20a (18b) Universal veil usually stretched thinly over cap or broken into thin pieces; volva short, close fitting, without a rolled collar; fruits in the spring to summer

................................................................................Amanita aprica J. Lindgren & Tulloss

CAP 5 -15 cm broad, globose, then convex to plane; bright yellow to yellow-orange, occasionally orange; surface usually covered with thin, stretched universal veil, tacky when moist; margin inrolled at first, sometimes appendiculate and with faint striations. ODOR and TASTE not distinctive. GILLS close to subdistant; white to creamy white; fimbriate; lamellulae truncate and numerous. STIPE 3.5 - 9 cm long, 1.5 - 3.5 cm thick; usually equal; white to cream, bruising brownish where handled; surface pruinose to scurfy below annulus; context white to yellowish, stuffed to hollow in age. VOLVA low, close fitting, margin free, seldom rolled; white to cream; sometimes with additional rings of tissue near the base. ANNULUS superior to median; white to cream; membranous yet fragile; skirtlike or collapsing on stipe; may be evanescent. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to gregarious; most often with Douglas fir in exposed areas; fruits just after morels; common throughout PNW. EDIBILITY unknown. SPORES (8.0-) 9.5 13.0(-21) x (5.0-) 6.5 8.5 (-12.5) m, ellipsoid, not amyloid. Amanita aprica
Amanita aprica
Michael Beug

20b Universal veil usually as one thick patch on cap; volva large, saccate, thick, membranous, often lobed; fruits in the fall

................................................................................Amanita lanei (Murrill) Sacc. & Trott.

(This is listed as A. calyptroderma or A. calyptrata in field guides. The original description of A. calyptroderma included both spring and fall fruitings. The spring fruiting is apparently a different mushroom -see # 19b, so I have altered this description to fit the larger, darker colored, fall entity.)

CAP 8 - 25 cm (or more) broad; subglobose to convex, then plane; color may shade from yellow at the margin to orange-brown over the center or be completely yellow-brown; surface viscid when moist, smooth except for a large, thick patch of white universal veil tissue; margin striate; flesh thick, solid, white to yellow near the top surface. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS broad, close, white to pale creamy-yellow; fimbriate. STIPE 7 - 25 cm long, 2 - 4 cm thick; equal; creamy or pale yellow, staining brownish where handled; smooth but powdery below the annulus; center hollow. ANNULUS superior, cream-colored like the stipe, skirtlike, membranous and fragile. VOLVA large, thick, white, uneven margin. HABIT and HABITAT gregarious; grows in PNW with Douglas fir and more commonly with madrone and hardwoods in southern Oregon and California. It can be huge! EDIBILITY good, but be sure of your identification. SPORES 8 - 11 x 5 - 6 m, not amyloid.Amanita lanei
Amanita lanei
Janet Lindgren

21a (16b) Cap brown with remnants of yellow universal veil on surface; volva as yellowish, fragile, or powdery pieces; yellow on annulus

................................................................................Amanita franchetii sensu Thiers

(Previously known as A. aspera, which proves to be Lepiota acutesquamosa.)

CAP 4 - 12 (-15) cm broad; subglobose to convex, then plane; dark brown to gray-brown, or light brown; viscid when moist, and covered with mealy, yellow warts which become flattened and grayish in age; margin usually not striate, often yellow on the very edge; flesh white to yellow and soft. ODOR and TASTE not distinct. GILLS close; white to creamy-yellow; edges often fimbriate and darker. STIPE 5 - 15 cm long, 0.7 - 2 cm thick, equal or tapering upward from an enlarged base; white to yellowish, fibrillose to scaly towards the base, smooth when old. VOLVA mealy pieces of yellow tissue may form rings at the base or be left in the soil. ANNULUS membranous, skirtlike, white on the upper surface and yellow below and on the edge. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to scattered with both hardwoods and conifers; fruits late summer to fall. EDIBILITY not considered edible. SPORES 8 - 12 x 6 - 8 m, ellipsoid; amyloid. Amanita franchetii
Amanita franchetii
Catherine Ardrey

21b Cap a shade of brown with universal veil remnants that are not yellow, or without universal veil remnants

22a Cap light to very dark brown or rust, usually bald and with striations; volva membranous, saccate, may be fragile and have rust stains; no annulus

22b Cap a shade of brown, usually with warts; volva as short, close cup, or as concentric rings

23a Cap dark brown shading lighter over long striations on margin, (some are entirely rust colored); volva large, membranous, saccate, often with rust stains

................................................................................Amanita pachycolea Stuntz in Thiers & Ammirati

CAP 7 - 12 (-20) cm broad, at first oval, then convex and finally plane with an umbo, or with an upturned margin; dark brown, shading lighter toward the margin and with a darker band at inner edge of striations; surface smooth, viscid when moist, usually without a patch or warts of universal veil; margin deeply striate; context white, soft. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS broad; close; white, discoloring orangish in age; edges fimbriate and usually dark brown. STIPE 12 - 30 cm or more long, 1 - 3 cm thick equal or tapering upward; covered with gray-brown to brown fibrillose scales on a pale background; hollow in age. VOLVA membranous, thick, saccate, tall, white with rust- colored stains. ANNULUS none. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to scattered in mixed woods and with conifers; common. EDIBILITY edible, not choice. SPORES 11 - 14.5 x 10 - 12.5 m, broadly elliptical to round; not amyloid. Amanita pachycolea
Amanita pachycolea
Steve Trudell

23b Cap pale tan to light brown; volva saccate, fragile, often with brown or rust stains

................................................................................"NW 4 " (may be a group of unnamed species)

CAP 3.5 - 9 cm broad, ovoid to campanulate, then convex, with a low umbo in age; pale tannish-brown to gray-brown, lighter near margin; tacky when moist, with or without a thin membranous, white to gray patch or patches that may be stained rust-colored; margin striate and cracked in age; context white. ODOR and TASTE mild. GILLS subdistant; white, cream, or pale grayish-buff; edges minutely fimbriate and sometimes dark; lamellulae truncate. STIPE 5 - 12 cm long, 0.5 - 1 cm thick; equal or tapering upward; white with pale brownish powdery to fibrillose granules that may form a pattern; context stuffed, white to gray near edges. VOLVA membranous, saccate, flaring, then collapsing on stipe, white exterior and white to pale orangish interior, with or without rust colored stains, may also be constricted like A. constricta (see # 3b). ANNULUS none. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to scattered, with conifers; common in the fall. EDIBILITY not known. SPORES (7-) 10 - 13.2 (-19.2) x (6-) 9 - 12.2 (-17.8) m, globose to broadly ellipsoid, not amyloid.

24a (22b) Cap light brown to dark brown, or brown with a yellowish margin and numerous warts; volva as a short, close fitting cup with a short free edge

................................................................................Amanita pantherina group

(also see A. gemmata group # 19a.)

CAP 5 - 15 cm broad, convex to plane or slightly depressed; color is variable, usually dark brown, but may be light brown, yellow-brown, or brown with a yellowish margin, often darker near the center; viscid when moist, and surface covered by white warts that may be in concentric rings or washed away by rain; margin striate; flesh firm and white. ODOR and TASTE not distinct. GILLS close; white to off-white; lamellulae truncate, numerous. STIPE 5 - 15 (-20) cm long, 1 - 3 cm thick, equal or tapering upward from a basal bulb; white to creamy; surface smooth above the annulus and fibrous or scaly below; context white, stuffed to hollow. VOLVA short, with an abrupt margin, flat collar, or rolled edge; white to pallid. ANNULUS superior, skirtlike and with a ragged edge, white. HABIT and HABITAT gregarious with conifers and in mixed woods; can be found spring through fall, and may include several varieties or species under this name. A. pantherina var. pantherinoides may be the correct name for the honey-yellow amanita that also is sometimes placed in the A. gemmata group. EDIBILITY toxic and the cause of many poisonings in the PNW. SPORES 9 - 13 x 6.5 - 9 m, ellipsoid; not amyloid. Amanita pantherina group
Amanita pantherina group
Steve Trudell

24b Cap pale tan (drab), to tannish-orange or light brown; volva as concentric rings or broken, membranous patches on an enlarged base

25a Cap pale tan to light brown with warts; volva as concentric rings; fruits late fall, often large


(see # 15a. A. muscaria var. flavivolvata)

25b Cap drab to tannish-orange; pale orange scales on stipe; known only from southern Idaho

................................................................................Amanita aurantisquamosa Trueblood, Miller & Jenkins

CAP 3.5 - 7 cm broad, convex to plane; drab to light tan to pale tannish-orange, fading toward margin; glabrous, moderately viscid when moist; margin striate; flesh white, not staining. ODOR and TASTE not distinct. GILLS crowded; off-white to orange-white, white in age; lamellulae truncate to rounded truncate. STIPE 4 - 11 (-13.5) cm long, 8 - 2.2 cm wide, tapering upward with a slight flare at apex; white floccose scales near apex, white to pale orange scales near middle and base of stipe; context pale pinkish-white. VOLVA seen as floccose, membranous patches on an enlarged base, saccate at first, soon breaking apart; white with yellowish to yellowish-brown stains. ANNULUS median to low, thin, delicate and evanescent in age; white. HABIT and HABITAT solitary to scattered under Douglas fir, aspen or juniper; only the cap shows above the duff when it fruits in late spring to early summer; known only from southern Idaho. EDIBILITY not known. SPORES 10.5 - 12.5 x 9.4 - 10.9 m, subglobose to broadly ellipsoid; not amyloid.



abruptly bulbous - top of bulb flattened, sides and bottom rounded

adnate - gills which are broadly attached to the stipe

adnexed - gills narrowly attached to the stipe

amyloid - spores which stain bluish in Melzers reagent or iodine

annulus - a ring of tissue around the stipe

appendiculate - margin of cap fringed or adorned with fragments of the veil

areolae, areolate - spaces marked out on the surface, separated by cracks

attenuate - gradually narrowed

clavate - base thickened like a club

convex - regularly rounded, domed

disc - center of the cap

ellipsoid - spores with rounded ends and slightly curved sides

evanescent - slightly developed and soon disappearing

farinaceous - mealy to powdery particles on the cap or stipe; may also refer to the odor of fresh meal

fimbriate - gill edges finely fringed by cells

floccose - loose cottony or soft tufts of tissue

free - gills that are not attached to the stipe

fusiform - spindle shaped, tapering in both directions from an enlarged part

gills - the knife-blade-like structures on the underside of the cap

globose - spherical, like a globe

habit - the general, external, and characteristic appearance, or manner of growth

habitat - the natural place of growth

lamellulae - the short gills that do not span the whole distance from margin to stipe

limbate volva - membranous, attached closely around the bulb and with an open, free margin

marginate bulb - with circular ridge around top edge of bulb; in age it may flatten to look like wide shoulders on a rounded bulb

Melzers reagent - an iodine solution used to test for an amyloid reaction of the spore wall

membranous - like a membrane or skinlike

obtusely conic - rounded or blunt cone-shaped

plane - having a flat surface

pruinose - finely powdered

saccate volva - one shaped like a sack, cup or sheath

spores - the reproductive units of a fungus

stipe - the correct term for the "stem" of a mushroom

striate, striations - radiating grooves or lines on cap margin

subglobose - almost spherical

subumbonate - center of cap slightly or broadly raised

truncate - appearing chopped off or abruptly ending

umbo, umbonate - having a raised knob or mound at center of cap

universal veil - the enveloping veil that covers an immature amanita and which breaks to form a volva at the base, and often leaving remnants on the cap

volva - the remains of the universal veil; usually refers to the structure found at the base of the stipe




  1. Ammirati, J. F., J. A. Traquair, and P. A. Horgen, 1985. Poisonous Mushrooms of the Northern United States and Canada. University of Minnesota Press, Minneapolis, Minnesota.
  2. Arora, D., 1986. Mushrooms Demystified. Ten Speed Press, Berkeley, CA.
  3. Bas, C., 1969. "Morphology and subdivision of Amanita and a monograph of its section Lepidella."  Persoonia. Vol. 5, Part. 4. Rijksherbarium, Leiden, The Netherlands.
  4. Bessette, A. E., O. K. Miller, Jr., A. R. Bessette, and H. H. Miller, 1995. Mushrooms of North America in Color. Syracuse University Press, Syracuse, NY.
  5. Jenkins, D., 1986. Amanita of North America. Mad River Press, Eureka, CA.
  6. Singer, R. 1986. The Agaricales in Modern Taxonomy. 4th rev. ed. Koeltz Scientific Books, Germany.
  7. Smith, A. H. Unpublished notes on Amanita.
  8. Snell, W. H., and E. A. Dick, 1971. A Glossary of Mycology. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, MA.
  9. Tulloss, R. E. Studies in Amanita (Amanitaceae) of Idaho, Oregon, Washington, California and neighboring regions in Canada, Mexico and the United States. Not published.
  10. _____ and J. E. Lindgren, 1992. "Amanita smithiana -- Taxonomy, distribution, and poisonings."  Mycotaxon. Vol. 45, pp.373-387.
  11. _____and _____, 1994. "Amanita novinupta -- A rubescent, white species from the western United States and southwestern Canada."  Mycotaxon. Vol. 51, pp.179-190.
  12. _____and _____, 2005. "Amanita aprica -- a new toxic species from western North America."  Mycotaxon. Vol. 91, pp.193-205.



Sincere appreciation is given to Dr. Rodham E. Tulloss for his guidance, support, and sharing of information on the genus Amanita. With his detailed microscopy and study of many type collections we have been able to determine the status of some Pacific Northwest species. Kit Scates-Barnhart brought to my attention the interesting story about A."pruitii" and has given encouragement to write this key. She deserves credit and thanks for her diligent effort to get keys completed on the major genera of mushrooms found in the Pacific Northwest. Maggie Rogers fine-tuned the format, punctuation, and grammar for which I am most grateful.





 AMANITA Pers.  
    A."alba" sensu auct. 5a
    A."alpina" sensu Smith ined. 11a
    A. aprica J. Lindgren & Tulloss 20a
    A. armillariiformis Trueblood and Jenkins 12b
    A. aspera sensu auct. 21a
    A. aurantisquamosa Trueblood, Miller & Jenkins 25b
    A. breckonii Thiers & Ammirati 19a
    A. calyptrata Peck 19b, 20b
    A. calyptratoides Peck 19b
    A. calyptroderma Atk. & Ballen 19b, 20b
    A. constricta group 3b
    A. farinosa sensu auct. PNW 2a
    A. franchetii sensu Thiers 21a
    A. gemmata group 19a, 24a
    A. gemmata var. exannulata Lange 19a
    A. lanei (Murrill) Sacc. & Trott. 19b, 20b
    A. malheurensis Trueblood, Miller & Jenkins 12b
    A. muscaria var. alba Peck 7a
    A. muscaria var. flavivolvata (Singer) Jenkins 15a, 17a
    A. muscaria var. formosa sensu Thiers 17a
    A. muscaria (L.: Fr.) Pers. var. muscaria 15a
    A. novinupta Tulloss & Lindgren 10a
    A. ocreata Peck 6a, 15b
    A. ovoidea (Bull.:Fr.) Link 5a
    A. pachycolea Stuntz in Thiers & Ammirati 23a
    A. pantherina group 19a, 24a
    A. phalloides (Fr.: Fr.) Link 13a
    A. porphyria (Alb. & Schw.: Fr.) Alb. & Schw. 3a
    A. prairiicola Peck 12b
    A. "pruittii" A. H. Smith nom. prov. 12a
    A. silvicola Kauffman 9a
    A. smithiana Bas 9a, 9b
    A. vaginata sensu auct. 3b
    A. velosa (Pk.) Lloyd 15b
    A. verna (Bull.: Fr.) Lamarck 6a
    A. virosa Lamarck 6a
    "NW 4" 23b

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