This section is from the book "Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc.", by George Francis Atkinson. Also available from Amazon: Studies of American Fungi: Mushrooms, Edible, Poisonous, Etc..
The characters presented in the formation of the veil and annulus in this species are very interesting, and sometimes present two of the types in the formation of the veil and annulus found in the genus Amanita. In the very young plant, in the button stage, as the young gills lie with their edges close against the side of the stem, loose threads extend from the edges of the gills to the outer layer of the stem. This outer layer of the stem forms the veil, and is more or less loosely connected with the firmer portion of the stem by loose threads. As the pileus expands, the threads connecting the edges of the gills with the veil are stronger than those which unite the veil with the surface of the stem. The veil is separated from the stem then, simultaneously, or nearly so, throughout its entire extent, and is not ripped up from below as in Amanita velatipes.
Amanita verna, "buttons," cap bursting through the volva; left-hand plant in section (natural size). Copyright.
As the pileus expands, then, the veil lies closely over the edges of the gills until finally it is freed from them and from the margin of the pileus. As the veil is split off from the surface of the stem, the latter is torn into numerous floccose scales, as shown in Fig.
In other cases, in addition to the primary veil which is separated from the stem in the manner described above, there is a secondary veil formed in exactly the same way as that described for Amanita velatipes.
In such cases there are two veils, or a double veil, each attached to the margin of the pileus, the upper one ascending over the edges of the gills and attached above on the stem, while the lower one descends and is attached below as it is being ripped up from a second layer of the stem. Figures 59-61 are from plants collected at Blowing Rock, N. C, in September, 1899.
Amanita virosa Fr. Deadly Poisonous. - This plant also by some is regarded as only a form of Amanita phalloides. It is a pure white plant and the pileus is viscid as in the A. verna and A. phalloides. The volva splits at the apex as in A. verna, but the veil is very fragile and torn into shreds as the pileus expands, portions of it clinging to the margin of the cap as well as to the stem, as shown in Fig. 62. The stem is also adorned with soft floccose scales. Gillet further states that the pileus is conic to campanulate, not becoming convex as in A. verna and A. phalloides.
Amanita verna, small form, white (natural size). Copyright.
Amanita virosa, white (natural size). Copyright.
The variability presented in the character of the veil and in the shape of the pileus suggests, as some believe, that all these are but forms of a single variable species. On the other hand, we need a more careful and extended field study of these variations. Doubtless different interpretations of the specific limits by different students will lead some to recognize several species where others would recognize but one. Since species are not distinct creations there may be tolerably good grounds for both of these views.
Amanita floccocephala Atkinson. Probably Poisonous. - This species occurs in woods and groves at Ithaca during the autumn. The plants are medium sized, 6-8 cm. high, the cap 3-6 cm. broad, and the stems 4-6 mm. in thickness.
The pileus is hemispherical to convex, and expanded, smooth, whitish, with a tinge of straw color, and covered with torn, thin floccose patches of the upper half of the circumscissile volva. The gills are white and adnexed. The spores are globose, 7-10 µ. The stem is cylindrical or slightly tapering above, hollow or stuffed, floccose scaly and abruptly bulbous below. The annulus is superior, that is, near the upper end of the stem, membranaceous, thin, sometimes tearing, as in A. virosa. The volva is circumscissile, the margin of the bulb not being clear cut and prominent, because there is much refuse matter and soil interwoven with the lower portion of the volva. The bulb closely resembles those in Cooke's figure (Illustrations, 4) of A. mappa. Figure 63 shows these characters well.
Amanita floccocephala (natural size). Copyright.
Amanita velatipes Atkinson. Properties Unknown. - This plant is very interesting since it shows in a striking manner the peculiar way in which the veil is formed in some of the species of Amanita. Though not possessing brilliant colors, it is handsome in its form and in the peculiar setting of the volva fragments on the rich brown or faint yellow of the pileus. It has been found on several occasions during the month of July in a beech woods on one of the old flood plains of Six-mile creek, one of the gorges in the vicinity of Ithaca, N. Y. The mature plant is from 15-20 cm. high, the cap from 8-10 cm. broad, and the stem 1-1.5 cm. in thickness.
The pileus is viscid when moist, rounded, then broadly oval and convex to expanded, striate on the margin, sometimes in old plants the margin is elevated. It is smooth throughout, and of a soft, rich hair brown, or umber brown color, darker in the center. Sometimes there is a decided but dull maize yellow tinge over the larger part of the pileus, but even then the center is often brown in color, shading into the yellow color toward the margin; the light yellow forms in age, often thinning out to a cream color. The flesh of the pileus is rather thin, even in the center, and becomes very thin toward the margin, as shown in Fig. 67. The scales on the pileus are more or less flattened, rather thin, clearly separated from the pileus, and easily removed. They are more or less angular, and while elongated transversely at first, become nearly isodiametric as the pileus becomes fully expanded, passing from an elongated form to rectangular, or sinuous in outline, the margin more or less upturned, especially in age, when they begin to loosen and "peel" from the surface of the cap. They are lighter in color than the pileus and I have never observed the yellow tint in them. The gills are white, broad at the middle, about 1 cm., and taper gradually toward each end. The spores are usually inequilaterally oval, 8-10 x 6-7 µ, granular when young, when mature with a large oil drop.