False Death Cap

(Amanita citrina)

Conservation Status
False Death Cap
Photo by Scott Schad
  IUCN Red List

not listed

 
  NatureServe

not listed

 
  Minnesota

not listed

 
           
           
           
           
           
           
           
 
Description
 
 

False Death Cap is a large, easily recognized mushroom that is mycorrhizal with hardwoods. It is common and widespread.

The stalk is white or ivory white, smooth, 2½ to 4¾ tall, and to wide. It may be slightly cottony toward the base. At the base of the stalk is a cup-like structure (volva). This is a remnant of a protective, egg-like covering (universal veil) that completely envelopes the developing mushroom when young. It may be partially or completely buried in the ground. It adheres tightly to the stem and is not sack-like. Toward the top of the stalk, below the cap and gills, is a membranous ring. This is the remnant of a protective covering (inner veil) of the developing gills. It is white or white to pale yellow and is persistent, remaining on the stalk at maturity of the mushroom.

The cap is smooth, dry, flat to convex, and 2 to 4¾ in diameter. There are two color variants that are not given taxonomic recognition as varieties, subspecies, or forms. On the yellowish variant the cap is pale greenish-yellow to yellowish-white when young, becoming mostly white or ivory white with pale greenish-yellow to yellowish-white just near the center as it ages. It has scattered, irregular, buff patches or warts, but these may disappear with age. It was formerly recognized as Gray False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. grisea). On the white variant the cap is white when young and remains white as it ages. It has white patches or warts. It was formerly recognized as White False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. alba). On both variants the patches or warts may disappear with age. Both variants are common in Minnesota.

The gills are white, closely spaced, and are not attached to the stalk. They sometimes turn yellowish with age.

The spores are white, cream, or yellowish.

Although edible, most field guides list False Death Cap as poisonous due to its close resemblance to Death Cap. The darker variant has a strong odor of raw potato. The white variant has a mild odor.

 
     
 

Similar Species

 
 

Destroying Angel (Amanita bisporigera and Amanita virosa) is pure white throughout, both when young and when mature. The cup is sack-like. The cap usually does not have patches or warts.

Coker’s Lavender Staining Amanita (Amanita lavendula) has a flush of lavender in the universal veil and sometimes lavender streaks on the cap.

 
     
 
Habitat and Hosts
 
 

Oak and pine forests.

 
     
 
Biology
 
 

Season

 
 

Summer and fall

 
     
 
Distribution
 
 

Distribution Map

 

Sources

4, 7, 24, 26, 29, 30, 77.

 
  7/18/2022      
         
 

Occurrence

 
 

Common and widespread

 
         
 
Taxonomy
 
  Kingdom Fungi (fungi)  
  Subkingdom Dikarya  
  Division Basidiomycota (club fungi)  
  Subdivision Agaricomycotina (jelly fungi, yeasts, and mushrooms)  
  Class Agaricomycetes (mushroom-forming fungi)  
  Subclass Agaricomycetidae  
  Order Agaricales (common gilled mushrooms and allies)  
  Suborder Pluteineae  
  Family Amanitaceae (Amanita mushrooms and allies)  
  Tribe Amaniteae  
  Genus Amanita (Amanita mushrooms)  
  Subgenus Amanitina  
  Section Validae  
  Series Mappae  
       
 

Subordinate Taxa

 
 

Four North American subspecies of False Death Cap (Amanita citrina) have been described.

White False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. alba) is now considered a color variation of Amanita citrina.

Gray False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. grisea) now refers to Asian Citrine Bulbous Amanita, a variety that occurs only in Japan and China.

Lavender False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. lavendula) has been raised to species level, now Coker’s Lavender Staining Amanita (Amanita lavendula).

Amanita citrina var. intermedia – no common name, has been raised to species level, and is now Amanita intermedia. It still has no common name.

There are currently no recognized subspecies of Amanita citrina in North America.

 
       
 

Synonyms

 
 

Amanita citrina f. mappa

Amanita citrina var. alba

Amanita mappa

 
       
 

Common Names

 
 

Amanite Citrine

False Death Cap

Gray False Death Cap

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Glossary

Mycorrhizal

A symbiotic, usually beneficial relationship between a fungus and the tiny rootlets of a plant, usually a tree.

 

Universal veil

An egg-like structure that envelopes all or most of a developing gill mushroom. Remnants of the universal veil sometimes visible on a mature mushroom are patchy warts on the cap, a ring on the stem, and a volva at the base of the stem.

 

Volva

Also called cup. A cup-like covering at the base of a mushroom stem, sometimes buried. It is the remnants of the universal veil ruptured by the mushroom pushing through. It is found on Amanita, Volvariella, and some other mushrooms.

 
 
Visitor Photos
 
           
 

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AGShep

 
 

I have found many of these in my backyard at the edges of the trail through my backwoods.

 
    False Death Cap   False Death Cap  
 

Brad Johnson

 
    False Death Cap   False Death Cap  
 

Scott Schad

 
 

Shorter one cupped up this morning, tall one still holding rain water from two days ago. The one coming up I assume is the same? …

 
    False Death Cap   False Death Cap  
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Photos
 
 

Yellowish variant

 
    False Death Cap   False Death Cap  
           
    False Death Cap      
           
 

White variant

 
    False Death Cap   False Death Cap  

 

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slideshow

       
 
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Visitor Sightings
 
           
 

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  AGShep
7/17/2022

Location: Isanti Township, MN

I have found many of these in my backyard at the edges of the trail through my backwoods.

False Death Cap  
  Brad Johnson
9/6/2016

Location: St. Croix State Park

False Death Cap  
  Scott Schad
7/28/2016

Location: Todd County

Shorter one cupped up this morning, tall one still holding rain water from two days ago. The one coming up I assume is the same? …

False Death Cap

 
           
 
MinnesotaSeasons.com Sightings
 
   

 

 

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