Amanita porphyria: The Ultimate Mushroom Guide
About The Amanita porphyria Mushroom
Amanita porphyria can be found in our conifer forests during the latter part of summer and into fall. It is medium-sized with a gray to gray-brown cap with violet or reddish-gray tones. Usually, there are small, grayish warts or patches of veil tissue on the cap surface and around the margin of the distinctly bulbous stipe base.
The range of cap color for the species in North America is as broad as has been reported from Europe. In the northwest, specimens are sometimes completely white except for their gray ring. In eastern North America, the cap colors seen in the above illustrations are sometimes observed, however, in Newfoundland (photo) the caps are much paler and lack the red tint almost entirely. Occasionally, specimens are found which are strongly virgate with pigments ranging from grayish-yellow to brown, sometimes having an apparent olivaceous tint.
This mushroom might contain dangerous toxins, as several other species from this genus do. This species should not be gathered for eating.
Other names: Booted Amanita, Gray-Veil Amanita, Grey Veiled Amanita, Purple Brown Amanita, Purplish Amanita.
Amanita porphyria Identification
The cap of Amanita porphyria is (25-) 40 - 80 mm wide, dull red to grayish dull red to graying purple or pale brown-gray to violaceous brown to violaceous gray-brown, darkest in the center, hemispherical then convex, with or without a broad umbo, finally planar, viscid, shiny, with the distinct appearance of having innate radial fibers, and with a nonstriate and non-appendiculate margin.
The gills are free, rather crowded, whitish to pale yellowish gray, 4.5 - 8 mm broad, with a finely flocculose edge. The short gills are attenuate.
The stem is 60 - 110 × 6 - 14 mm, cylindric or slightly narrowing upwards, white or whitish, with fine striations above the ring, with violaceous gray or violaceous brownish longitudinal fibers present below the ring, solid and firm at first, giving the impression of the center being stuffed with cotton after some maturing, slowly becoming hollow.
The bulb is subglobose, marginate, and 12 - 36 mm wide. The ring is membranous, thin, skirt-like, finally collapsing on the stem, whitish or pale gray at first, rapidly becoming violaceous gray overall and violaceous brownish near the edge.
The volva is present as rather large violaceous gray-brown to violaceous gray plaques. The volva is present as more or less irregular plaques on the lower stem or bulb, friable, at first whitish or pale gray, rapidly becoming brownish lilac-gray particularly in detached fragments, with a short cottony white free limb on the bulb's upper margin; the limb maybe 1 - 6 mm high (rarely higher).
The flesh is whitish or pale cream, except fora narrow violaceous gray-brown region just under the cap skin.
Odor and Taste
The odor is of radishes or newly dug potatoes. The taste is not recorded.
According to Neville and Poumarat (2004), the spores measure 7.5 - 9.5 × 7 - 9 µm and are globose to subglobose and amyloid. Clamps are absent at the bases of basidia. Spores measured by RET from European and U.S. collections are as follows: (7.5-) 8.0 - 9.8 (-11.2) × (7.0-) 7.5 - 9.2 (-11.0) µm and are globose to subglobose, infrequently broadly ellipsoid.
Amanita porphyria Look-Alikes
Has white (not purplish-grey) velar remains on the cap.
Has flesh that turns pink when it is cut or torn.
Has much larger spores; its gills are more densely crowded and it has a more robust stem ring.
Amanita porphyria Taxonomy & Etymology
This fungus was described in 1805 under the current name, Amanita porphyria, by Johannes Baptista von Albertini and Lewis David de Schweinitz in their work Conspectus Fungorum in Lusatiae superioris agro Niskiensi crescentium e methodo Persooniana ("An overview of fungi growing in the area of Niesky in Upper Lusatia, according to the methodology of Persoon").
The name was then sanctioned by Fries, meaning that the name Amanita porphyria is given priority even if the normal nomenclatural rules would give precedence to another name – and indeed the Danish mycologist Heinrich Christian Friedrich Schumacher had already described the same species as Agaricus gracilis in 1803. The sanctioning can be shown in the author string using a colon as in the following: "A. porphyria Alb. & Schwein. : Fr."
The epithet porphyria comes from the Ancient Greek word porphúra (πορφύρα), meaning the Tyrian purple dye. This color may be seen in the cap of the mushroom (though it is not always evident).
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