Tuesday, 26 July 2016

The Amanita from Iping

Iping Common was looking glorious one Friday evening, a couple of weeks ago, when I joined the Sussex Wildlife Trust's wildlife guardians on a walk around the reserve.

Passing this expanse of heather on the right hand side, on the path which runs south west from the car park, we headed into a little patch of mixed birch woodland.

Here, by the path, I spotted this Amanita poking up through the grass: tall and tan and young and lovely.

I only got a couple of snaps as the light was fading and we were on a mission to see the Nightjars.

I've been umming and ahhing about whether this could be the Blusher Amanita rubescens or Grey Spotted Amanita Amanita excelsa. Two species which the Collins Guide says are "much confused".

I'd sort of convinced myself it must be the A. rubescens because my ID guides say the more common variant of A. excelsa A. excelsa var. spissa has a characteristic radish-like smell. And this mushroom didn't have a radish-like smell (I had a proper sniff). It didn't really smell of anything.

But I must admit, it didn't really display any blushing either (i.e. colouring red when cut or bruised), which is the characteristic feature of A. rubescens.

I happened to bump into Vivien Hodge today, who is a very experienced mycologist, so I grabbed the opportunity for a second opinion. She suggested it looks more like A. excelsa, but as I haven't got a clear shot of the gills it's rather difficult to tell. 

So I think I'm close on this one, but can't quite get to a species ID.

For the record
Date: 15 July 2016
Location: Iping Common
Grid ref: SU8421


  1. Hi Clare
    I thought the fungus in question looked rather like Amanita excelsa spissa when looking at the images on your phone, now I have seen the images full size I think it looks more like A. rubescens, all of which underlines the point I often make about the difficulty and unreliability of identifying fungi from photographs.The reddish tinges at the stipe base seem to be suggesting a reddening, and as explained when I saw you this feature can vary and you may need to wait for the colour change.

    The cap colours of your fungus are warmer than I would generally expect of A. excelsa var. spissa and the spot patterning rather more regular.
    All the best Vivien

    1. Thanks Vivien,

      Yes, pretty hopeless trying to ID things from photographs - especially when you're looking at them on a tiny mobile phone screen! And I'm wondering now if the settings on my camera, and the dusky light, might have made the mushrooms look redder than they actually were.

      If I see any mushrooms like this again I'll be sure to take a proper look.

      All the best,


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