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..
Plate 16, Figire 67
Plate 17, Figure 68
Amanita cothurnata. Different stages of development; for details see text. Entire plant white, sometimes tinge of umber at center of cap, and rarely slight tinge of lemon-yellow at center (natural size). Copyright.
In Amanita frostiana the remains of the volva sometimes form a similar collar, but not so stout, on the base of the stem. The variations in A. frostiana where the stem, annulus and gills are white might suggest that there is a close relationship between A. frostiana and A. cothurnata, and that the latter is only a form of the former. From a careful study of the two plants growing side by side the evidence is convincing that the two are distinct. Amanita frostiana occurs also at Blowing Rock, appearing earlier in the season than A. cothurnata, and also being contemporary with it. A. frostiana is more variable, not nearly so viscid, nor nearly so abundant, the stem is solid or stuffed, the annulus is more frail and evolved from the stem in a different manner. The volva does not leave such a constant and well defined roll where it separated on the stem transversely, and the pileus is yellow or orange. When A. cothurnata is yellowish at all it is a different tint of yellow and then only a tinge of yellow at the center. Albino or faded forms of A. frostiana might occur, but we would not expect them to appear at a definite season of the year in great abundance while the normal form, showing no intergrading specimens in the same locality, continued to appear in the same abundance and with the same characters as before. The dried plants of A. cothurnata are apt to become tinged with yellow on the gills, the upper part of the stem and upper part of the annulus during the processes of drying, but the pileus does not change in like manner, nor do these plants show traces of yellow on these parts when fresh. The spores are also decidedly different, though the shape and size do not differ to any great extent. In A. frostiana and the pale forms of the species the spores are nearly globose or oval, rarely with a tendency to become elliptical, but the content is quite constantly finely granular, while the spores of A. cothurnata are perhaps more constantly globose or nearly so, but the spore is nearly tilled with a highly refractive oil globule or " nucleus." The pileus of
Amanita cothurnata. Different stages opening up of plant, the two center ones showing veil being ripped from stem, but veil narrow The right-hand illustration has been scratched transversely, these marks not being characteristic of the plant (natural size). Copyright.
Amanita cothurnata. Two plants in section showing clearly hollow stem, veil attachment, etc. (natural size). Copyright.
A. frostiana is also thinner than that of A. cothurnata. It is nearer, in some respects, to specimens of Amanita pantherina received from Bresadola, of Austria-Hungary.
Amanita spreta Pk. Said to be Poisonous. - According to Peck this species grows in open or bushy places. The specimens illustrated in Fig. 71 grew in sandy ground by the roadside near trees in the edge of an open field at Blowing Rock, N. C, and others were found in a grove. The plants are 10-15 cm. high, the caps 6-12 cm. broad, and the stems 8-12 mm. in thickness. The pileus is convex to expanded, gray or light drab, and darker on the center, or according to Dr. Peck it may be white. It is smooth, or with only a few remnants of the volva, striate on the margin, and 1-.5 cm. thick at the center. The gills are white, adnexed, that is they reach the stem by their upper angle. The stem is of the same color as the pileus, but somewhat lighter, white to light gray or light drab, cylindrical, not bulbous, hollow or stuffed. The annulus is thin and attached above the middle of the stem. The volva is sordid white, and sheathes the stem with a long free limb of 3-5 lobes. It splits at the apex, but portions sometimes cling to the surface of the pileus.
Amanita spreta. The two outside plants show the free limb of the volva lying close against the stem (natural size, often larger). Copyright.
Figure 71 is from plants (No. 3707, C. U.) collected at Blowing Rock, N. C., September, 1899.
Amanita caesarea Scop. Edible, but use great caution. - This plant is known as the orange amanita, royal agaric, Caesar's agaric, etc. It is one of the most beautiful of all the agarics, and is well distributed over the earth. With us it is more common in the Southern States. It occurs in the summer and early autumn in the woods. It is easily recognized by its usually large size, yellow or orange color of the cap, gills, stem and ring, and the prominent, white, sac-like volva at the base of the stem. It is usually 12-20 cm. high, the cap 5-10 cm. broad, and the stems 6-10 mm. in thickness, though it may exceed this size, and depauperate forms are met with which are much smaller.
The pileus is ovate to bell-shaped, convex, and finally more or less expanded, when the surface may be nearly flat or the center may be somewhat elevated or umbonate and the margin curved downward. The surface is smooth except at the margin, where it is prominently striate. The color varies from orange to reddish or yellow, usually the well developed and larger specimens have the deeper and richer colors, while the smaller specimens have the lighter colors, and the color is usually deeper on the center of the pileus. The gills are yellow, and free from the stem. The stem is hollow, even in young plants, when it may be stuffed with loose threads. It is often very tloccose scaly below the annulus. It is cylindrical, only slightly enlarged below, where it is covered by the large, fleshy, sac-like white volva. The annulus is membranaceous, large, and hangs like a broad collar from the upper part of the stem. The stem and ring are orange or yellow, the depth of the color varying more with the size of the plant than is the case with the color of the cap. In small specimens the stem is often white, especially in depauperate specimens are the stem and annulus white, and even the gills are white when the volva may be so reduced as to make it difficult to distinguish the specimens from similar specimens of the poisonous fly agaric.