Amanita rubescens: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Amanita rubescens Mushroom
Amanita rubescens is a very common and widespread mushroom. It`s brassy yellowish to a dull brownish cap, which is adorned with warts that are yellow at first, but turn grayish to tan with development; and its tendency to discolor pinkish red to rose (which is why it is sometimes called the "Blusher" in field guides).
This mushroom is related to some of the seriously toxic species and learning the main features that characterize the Amanita genus is important.
All Amanita species have white spore prints and gills that do not actually join onto the stem - this is called having 'free' gills. Amanita species also have some kind of veil remains, sometimes just a universal veil mostly visible as a volva at the base of the stem and sometimes leaving spots on the cap - find out how the toadstool gets its spots.
Be aware that these spots on the cap can wash off in heavy rain. Amanitas often, but not always, also have a partial veil that leaves varying amounts of a skirt like structure or 'ring' halfway up the stem.
Other names: Blusher.
Amanita rubescens Identification
Mycorrhizal, primarily with oaks, but versions are found under pines and other conifers, as well; growing alone, scattered, or gregariously; summer and fall, or over winter along the Gulf Coast; widely distributed, as a species group, east of the Rocky Mountains. The illustrated and described collections are from Illinois, Québec, and Florida.
4–15 cm; convex, becoming broadly convex or flat; dry or slightly sticky; adorned with numerous felty warts that are bright yellow and densely packed at first, but soon spread and fade, becoming pinkish, grayish or dull tan; surface dull brassy yellow to dull brown when young, becoming flushed with red shades, and eventually turning reddish-brown to tan or brown; the margin typically not lined.
Free from the stem or narrowly attached to it; white, sometimes discoloring reddish; close or crowded; short-gills numerous.
5–18 cm long; 1–3 cm thick; more or less equal, or sometimes slightly enlarged toward base; the base indistinct to bulbous; generally without universal veil remnants; without a rim; white at first, becoming stained pinkish to dirty red; bald or finely hairy; with a fragile, persistent ring.
White throughout, discoloring slowly pale pinkish red, especially around wormholes.
Spore Print: White.
Amanita rubescens Toxicity
Amanita rubescens contain a hemolytic toxin in its raw state and hence causes anaemia if eaten raw, most people steer clear of it as a food source. The toxic compounds concerned are destroyed if Amanita rubescens is cooked thoroughly.
One of the biggest challenges for anyone trying to identify this very common member of the Amanita genus is its tremendous varability. I have found fully mature Blushers with caps no larger than 2.5cm in diameter, while others attain nearly ten times that size.
Equally variable is the cap color. Some Blushers have a reddish background, some are brown, and others, like the specimen shown above, can only be described as a bright metallic silver.
Amanita rubescens Taxonomy & Etymology
This species was named and described by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon in 1797.
The specific epithet rubescens means reddening; it refers to the color change from white to pinkish red when cut or damaged flesh of either the cap or the stem is exposed to air. The English common name is equally direct.
Amanita rubescens Similar Species
Amanita excelsa (synonym Amanita spissa), the Grey Spotted Amanita, is referred to by some authorities as the False Panthercap; it could equally be termed the False Blusher because, apart from displaying unchanging flesh colour when cut, quite a high proportion of specimens look remarkably similar to some colour forms of the Blusher.
Amanita caesarea (Caesar's Mushroom) is rarely if ever found except in southern Europe; its cap is brilliant orange with a striated margin, and the stipe is yellow - Blusher caps lack marginal striations and their stems are not yellow, although there is a form - Amanita rubescens f. annulosulfurea (Gillet) Lange - that has a yellow stem ring.
The caps of some samples of Amanita muscaria are orange-brown while others are silvery, but the veil fragments are pure white rather than grey or off-white tinged with pink or brown.
Amanita pantherina has a brown cap with white veil fragments; its flesh does not blush pink when damaged.
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