Caesar’s Mushroom

Amanita caesarea

Appears in

By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Caesar’s Mushroom Amanita caesarea (Scop.) Pers. (illustrated 45% life size) Cap 6–18cm across, at first ovate or hemispherical, becoming expanded convex; clear orange-red, fading or ageing more yellowish; smooth and slightly viscid, finely striate at the margin. Stem 50–120×15–25mm; yellow, with a large, yellow, pendulous ring, which is often striate; basal bulb encased in a large, white, bag-like volva. Flesh whitish, distinctly yellow below the cap cuticle; firm, taste pleasant, nutty, smell faint and delicate. Gills free and crowded; yellow. Spores 10–14×6–11¼, elliptical; nonamyloid. Spore print white to yellowish. Habitat favours open deciduous woodland, especially with oaks, in warm regions; found in more southern areas of Europe, not yet recorded in Britain; summer to autumn. Edible excellent; this species has been a prized esculent since Roman times. It was reputed to be the favourite of Julius Caesar and later of the Emperor Claudius. The story goes that Claudius was murdered by the addition of Deathcaps (Amanita phalloides) to a dish of this mushroom prepared for him by his wife.