Amanita and Saproamanita in NZ

The family amanitacaea in NZ has species of Limacella, Zhuliangomyces, Amanita, and the  non-mycrorrhizal Saproamanita (which I accept as phylogenetically, ecologically and morphologically distinct from Amanita). The ectomycorrhizal Amanita species are less particular about host trees than say LactariusCortinarius or Russula. In that respect they are similar to our boletes. Consequently several species are known both with tea-tree and beech. The introduced Amanita muscaria has made the jump from introdued to indigenous hosts and continues to spread through the beech forest. Amanita phalloides and the recently found Amanita marmorata (with tea-tree and introduced Eucalyptus) are deadly poisonous (although their are varying reports of the toxicity of A. marmorata). A. phalloides is responsible for the majority of mushroom poisoning fatalities worldwide, and that includes deaths in New Zealand. Amanita excelsa var. spissa is present so far only in urban Canterbury with introduced European trees. It has been treated both as this variety and as a good species. A recent treatment ( presents sequence evidence to suggest the two should be treated as distinct and unrelated species. However other sequences also labelled Amanita spissa indicate it should be treated as a variety. If Genbank:MH486891 from France represents the true A. spissa then A. excelsa var. spissa sensu NZ is really A. excelsa. If HQ539743 from Germany is the true A. spissa then it should be treated as a variety of A. excelsa. Given current data I believe HQ539743 represents Amanita excelsa var. spissa. Morphological studies and epitypification of appropriate European material is required to resolve this ambiguity. Amanita junquillea (incorrectly also known as Amanita gemmata) is a variable species introduced under pines in the lower North Island. In the genus Amanita we have two undescribed species, which are included in the key. Amanita sp. 'Bealey' is widespread in upper SI under beech and rather hard to recognise. Amanita drummondii aff. is similar to Amanita pekeoides but has veil fragments on the cap and a grey residual volva at the stem base. In A. pekeoides there are no veil fragments on the cap and the stem base has a substantial sac-like white volva. The famous undescribed 'Noddy Cap' Sapromamanita (A. sp. 2 of Geoff Ridley) turns up quite often in unexpected locations (like most Sapromanaita species) and it will eventually be called S. galerumgandalfi. All New Zealand species in the amanitaceae have been extensively sequenced and studied. The following key is to species of Amanita and Saproamanita only.



Not apparently ectomycorrhizal and appearing in lawns away from trees and under shrubs. Often tacky to the touch and often with strong odour. Basidia without basal clamps in NZ taxa. Spores amyloid. (see also A. mumura - also section Lepidella with basal clamps and under beech). 

Saproamanita  3


Obviously mycorrhizal under native tea-tree or southern beech, or introduced conifers and broad-leaved. Spores amyloid or not.



Under exotic trees (pine, spruce, oak, poplar, beech, lime, birch). If with Eucalyptus see A. marmorata



Under native tea-tree and southern beech



Cap acutely conical and felty. Fruitbody ochraceous brown and tacky.

Saproamanita galerumgandalfi ined.( = sp. 2)


Cap not acutely conical



Cap fuscous, with woolly scales

Saproamanita inopinata


Cap ochre to cinnamon brown, without woolly scales

Saproamanita manicata 
(= S. nauseosa SS NZ)


Cap bright red to orange, with patches of white veil remnants, sometimes washed off. Stem with ring. Gills pure white. Spores inamyloid.

Amanita muscaria



Cap other colours.



Cap reddish brown. Gills and flesh spotted with flesh coloured to brown spots, especially when damaged. Under exotic broadleaved trees. Spores amyloid.

Amanita rubescens



Cap greenish, yellow or grey to brown



Cap grey to brown. Under exotic broadleaf trees. Spores amyloid.

Amanita excelsa var. spissa


Cap greenish yellow or yellow



Cap butter yellow. Stem without ring. Under exotic conifers. Spores inamyloid.

Amanita junquillea


Cap yellowish green. Stem with ring. Under exotic broadleaf trees. Spores amyloid.

Amanita phalloides


Stem with a ring or remnants of a partial veil. Spores amyloid or inamyloid



Stem without a ring or remnants of a partial veil. Spores inamyloid


10 Cap grey, without veil remnants, finely fibrillose, stem with pronounced volva. Spores amyloid. Amanita marmorata
10' Cap grey or not. If grey then not fibrillose and with veilar remnants 11


Cap with veil remnants of pyramidal/pointed warts or cuboid crumbs. Spores amyloid.



Cap with veil remnants of patches or flat scales. Spores inamyloid or amyloid.



Cap grey to buff. Veil of patches or cuboid crumbs.

N.B. there is an undescribed species with characters of A. karea but a reddish colouration like A. rubescens.

Amanita karea


Cap without grey colours and with pyramidal/pointed warts



Ring forming a well-developed entire skirt. Bulb at stem base with distinct flat top, often tan/grey. Lower stem base smooth.

Amanita australis


Ring fragmenting. Lower stem distinctly scaly.



Spores globose

Amanita pareparina


Spores ellipsoid (rare species known only from the type locality near Wellington)

Amanita pumatona


Gill edge black. Ring remnants on stem black. Fruitbody decaying rapidly. Spores inamyloid.

Amanita nigrescens


Gill edge not black, etc. Spores amyloid.



Cap dark grey to brown. Spores globose. With tea-tree and southern beech. Ring sometimes yellowish. Cap > 7cm inmature specimens.

Amanita nothofagi


Cap usually paler. Spores subglobose to ellipsoid, Q > 1.1



Cap grey. Veil remnants patches or small and crumb-like. Cap < 7cm.

N.B. there is an undescribed species with characters of A. karea and a reddish colouration like A. rubescens. Some collections of A. karea are like A. nothofagi and can then be separated by spore shape and size of fruitbodies.

Amanita karea


Cap cream to buff. Veil patches large and often washed off. 



Cap > 7cm in mature specimens. Not staining yellow or drying pink. Basidia without basal clamps.

Amanita sp. ‘Bealy’


Cap < 7cm in mature specimsn. Some collections staining yellow and drying pink. Basidia with basal clamps. (section Lepidella)

Amanita mumura


Cap perimeter strongly striate. Cap colour buff to dark brown.



Cap perimeter hardly striate, or not striate. Cap colour yellow to buff.

Amanita taiepa


Stem with distinct basal bulb with flat top and grey band around upper surface. Cap surface often powdery with veil remnants.

Amanita nehuta


Stem with a distinct snake-skin pattern. Cap surface without powdery veil remnants. 



Cap with veil fragments and relatively small grey, velvety volva at the stem base.

Amanita drummondii aff.


Cap without veil fragments and relatively large white sac-like volva at the stem base.

Amanita pekeoides

Posted on September 05, 2016 05:17 AM by cooperj cooperj


Nice key. Amanita should not be split.

Posted by alan_rockefeller over 6 years ago (Flag)

I support the adoption of Saproamanita as a new genus for saprobic amanitas, as does most of Europe.

I also appreciate this simple key to NZ amanitas, so thanks, Jerry.

As an interesting aside: although some examples of the introduced Amanita marmorata contain amatoxins, some do not. We showed this both in my home lab with the Bever Amatoxtest, from Hawaiin material, and in the Walton lab in Michigan. Not the sort of Russian Roulette that one would want to play, however.

Posted by angryamanita about 1 year ago (Flag)

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