White False Death Cap

(Amanita citrina var. alba)

Conservation Status
White False Death Cap
  IUCN Red List

not listed


not listed


not listed


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

The stalk is 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 and persistent, remaining on the stalk at maturity of the mushroom.

The cap is smooth, dry, flat to convex, and 2 to 4¾ in diameter. It is white when young, and remains white as it ages. It has scattered, irregular, white patches or warts, but these may disappear with age.

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

The spores are white, cream, or yellowish.

Although edible, most field guides list White False Death Cap as poisonous due to its close resemblance to Death Cap. It has a mild odor of raw potato.


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.

Gray False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. grisea) is ivory-white, gray, or dark gray. It has a stronger odor.

Lavender False Death Cap (Amanita citrina var. lavendula) has a flush of lavender in the universal veil and sometimes lavender streaks on the cap.

Habitat and Hosts

Oak and pine forests.




Summer and fall


Distribution Map



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




Common and widespread

  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 Lepidella  
  Section Validae  
  Species Amanita citrina (False Death Cap)  



Common Names


White False Death Cap









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.



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.

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Brad Johnson
  White False Death Cap   White False Death Cap
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  White False Death Cap   White False Death Cap






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  Brad Johnson

Location: St. Croix State Park

White False Death Cap

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