Amanita phalloides

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By Roger Phillips

Published 2006

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Deathcap Amanita phalloides (Vaill. ex Fr.) Link (illustrated (a) 40% life size) Cap 4–12cm across, convex then flattened; variable in colour, but usually greenish or yellowish with an olivaceous flush, although paler, almost white caps do occur; smooth, with faint radiating fibres, often giving it a streaked appearance, slightly shiny when wet. Stem 50–130×10–18mm, thickening towards the large basal bulb; white, flushed with the cap colour and often faintly banded; sometimes becoming hollow, basal bulb encased in a large, white, saccate volva. Flesh white, with a faint yellowish flush below cap cuticle; smell sickly sweet, becoming noticeably stronger after collection. Gills free, crowded; white. Spores 8–10.5×7–8¼, broadly elliptical to subglobose, amyloid. Spore print white. Habitat in mixed deciduous woodlands, especially with oak; late summer to autumn. Common. Deadly poisonous. Note There is a white form, which differs from the type in being pure white throughout. Like A. phalloides, it is deadly poisonous. I have collected this form in western France.