Fungi Web quest
Amanita (various species)
Family: Amanitaceae (amanitas) in the phylum Basidiomycota (club fungi) Description: There are about 600 species in the genus Amanita worldwide. Each amanita starts as an egg-shaped button that can resemble a small puffball. These breaks open as the mushroom grows. Fully developed amanitas are gilled mushrooms with parasol-shaped caps that may be white, yellow, red or brown. They also have the following characteristics: 1. A saclike cub surrounding the base of the stem. This often is buried just beneath the soil surface and may not be obvious. 2. A ring on the stem. 3. White gills. 4. A white spore print. Both the ring and the bulb may be destroyed by rain or other disturbance. For this reason, beginning mushroom hunters should avoid all parasol-shaped mushrooms with white gills. Size: Size varies, depending on species and growing conditions. Habitat and conservation: Amanitas are usually found on the ground in woodlands in summer and fall, but be on the lookout for them elsewhere, and whenever you hunt for mushrooms. Though they are toxic to humans, their presence in the wild should be tolerated as they are part of a healthy ecosystem. Status: Common. This is a large group of mushrooms, many of which are difficult to tell apart. Some amanitas with memorable names include the "destroying angel," the "fly agaric," "yellow patches," the "blusher," the "gristle," the "ring less panther," the "death cap" and "fool's mushroom." Life cycle: “Mushrooms” exist most of the time underground or within rotting logs as a network of cells (mycelium) connected to tree roots, rotting material, and the soil. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium sends up the “mushroom” or “toadstool” aboveground; these are reproductive structures. Spores are produced in the gills and are released to begin new mycelia...
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