What You Should Know
Amanita verna is a deadly poisonous basidiomycete mushroom, one of many in the genus Amanita.
This beautiful white mushroom has the gills and the stipe. Like all amanitas, has a volva.
Amanita verna is very similar to that of Amanita phalloides, except for the detail that the verna is completely white, or in any case light in color. The hat of the Amanita verna is silky, almost shiny; when it ages it becomes yellowish.
The stem is rather stocky, up to ten centimeters high, enlarged at the root.
Amanita verna does not give off an odor, except when it ages and is an unpleasant aroma.
Grows in European woodlands and hardwood forests in springtime.
Other names: Destroying Angel, Fool's Mushroom.
Amanita verna Mushroom Identification
Caps of the Destroying Angel are 5 to 10cm in diameter, pure white, and without any marginal striations. The cap is initially egg-shaped and then campanulate (bell-shaped) or occasionally almost flat but with a broad umbo, and is often tilted on the stipe.
Although some young caps carry white remains of the universal veil, they soon wash off in wet weather and are rarely seen on mature caps.
Gills are white, free and crowded.
Stems of Destroying Angels are 9 to 15cm tall, 0.6 to 2cm in diameter, and often slightly curved; pure white and fibrous with an ungrooved, fragile ring high up on the stipe.
The large, sack-like volva is usually buried deep in the soil.
Spherical or subglobose, 7-8μm in diameter.
Has a white spore print.
Amanita verna Similar Species
Amanita citrina var. alba usually retains velar fragments on the cap; it has the sharp smell of new potatoes rather than a sweet sickly odour.
Young caps of Amanita virosa are pure white, whereas the Agaricus species have gills that are initially pink and later turn brown.
Amanita verna Toxicity
This mushroom contains a fatal dose of alpha-amanitin, which causes liver failure if not treated immediately. Also, fungus contains phallotoxins, these phallotoxins are not toxic to humans (when ingested) as they are poorly absorbed.
Like other members of the subfamily Phalloideae, the fool's mushroom has been implicated in several serious or fatal poisonings.
There are no negative symptoms from eating this fungus until 6–24 hours after ingestion. The first symptom is simply unease. Violent cramps and diarrhea follow. On the third day, the same symptoms repeat themselves, but while to many this may seem like a sign of recovery, most of the time it is simply a herald of the final onset of symptoms, which include kidney and liver failure due to amatoxins. At this point, drastic measures like liver transplants need to be taken, or the victim would most likely die.
Photo 1 - Author: Sinisa Radic (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 2 - Author: Sinisa Radic (Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 4.0 International)
Photo 3 - Author: Ki7sun3 (Public Domain)
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