Updated: Jun 22, 2022
“Amanita” is another one of those umbrella terms us mycologists like to use as a broad identifier when in the field. For this bunch, Amanita is also exclusively the genus name with specific species to differentiate endlessly.
Amanitas are typically recognized as a mycorrhizal mushroom with a slender stipe, a convex cap of a range of colors *with or without warts* and a basal bulb, usually under the soil surface.
Of course not all Amanitas have all of these features, plus plenty have skirt-like rings on the stipe, and some even have flesh that bruise different colors. Perhaps the most popular Amanita would be Amanita Muscaria, or the "Fly Agaric," a colorful mushroom with rich folklore and history.
Amanita mushrooms include hundreds and hundreds of species, some being the most deadly.
For example Amanita Phalloides, common name "Death Cap," and Amanita Bisporigera, common name "Destroying Angel" are two of the most toxic mushrooms that exist. Unfortunately these two mushrooms have been the culprit of many poisonings and deaths among mushroom foraging communities, which is why it's so important to be able to distinguish Amanitas from other mushrooms, AND of course to have a 100% ID before consuming any wild mushroom.
With that said, some species of Amanita mushrooms are edible and regarded highly by many mycologists! For example, in the United States: Amanita Jacksonii & Amanita Rubescens/Novinupta). But, I believe it's best to simply admire and study Amanitas to harness a steady understanding of these mushrooms before even considering foraging for edible species.
← Amanita Muscaria var. Formosa
Here is a beautiful specimen of a variation of the "Fly Agaric," which is a perfect example of how much research and taxonomy work still needs to be done to further explore and understand Amanita Mushrooms. Someday these will likely be two separate species.
Below is a gallery of a range of Amanitas we've encountered on our travels: