Amanita muscaria : Euro-Asian Fly Agaric






Amanita muscaria is the common, bright red fly agaric of northern Europe and Asia. Its orange-red to scarlet cap is 90 – 145 mm wide. The volva is distributed over the cap as white or yellow warts.

The gills are free to narrowly adnate, crowded to subcrowded, and white or whitish both in mass and in side view. The short gills are truncate.

The stipe is 60 – 150 x 8 – 22 mm and has a skirt-like annulus and notable bulb of rather variable shape (up to 46 x 45 mm). Rings of volval material commonly encircle the top of the bulb and the base of the stipe.

The spores measure (7.4-) 8.5 – 11.6 (-14.0) x (5.6-) 6.5 – 8.5 (-9.8) µm and are broadly ellipsoid (infrequently subglobose or elongate) and inamyloid. Clamps are very common at bases of basidia.

Because yellow warts are not uncommon in the type variety, microscopic characters must be used to distinguish it from the American Amanita muscaria subsp. flavivolvata Singer. The species is toxic and is well-known for its use by shamans of northern cultures. Amanita muscaria occurs throughout Europe and northern Asia and in western Alaska. It is one of the amanitas that is most easily (and frequently) introduced with imported trees — e.g., in pine and eucalypt plantations. It appears to be able to take on many genera of plants as ectomycorrhizal symbionts.

The species is associated primarily with Birch and diverse conifers, but has been found in mixed forest with other deciduous trees, in forests of pure Tilia (in Norway), and adapted to living with eucalypts in Australia and Argentina, etc. — R. E. Tulloss

Photos: R. E. Tulloss (Scotland)