Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa) Identification

Destroying Angel / Summer / Autumn / Deadly poisonous

Enter with caution into the shadowed realm of the Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa), an innocently beautiful mushroom concealing a deadly secret.

Join us on a somber journey as we shed light on this treacherous fungus, known for its potent toxicity.

With its ethereal appearance and seemingly harmless presence, the Destroying Angel poses a grave threat to unsuspecting foragers and mushroom enthusiasts. Uncover the distinctive features that betray its lethal nature, delve into the hazardous toxins it contains, and understand the devastating consequences of accidental ingestion. Through this knowledge, we aim to protect and educate, arming you with the understanding needed to navigate the natural world’s dangerous corners.

Brace yourself as we unveil the truth behind the Destroying Angel, a reminder of the ever-present need for caution, vigilance, and respect for the mysteries nature holds.

Common Name

Destroying Angel

Botanical Name

Amanita virosa

Meaning of Botanical Name

Virosa referring to its strongly sweet sickly unpleasant smell



Known Hazards

DEADLY, this mushroom contains amotoxin, which in the first 6-12 hours after eating cause severe gastric upsets, those symptoms pass and the consumer is fine until day 3-4 when severe liver and  kidney damage has been done which leads to coma and death.

Could be confused with

The Fase Death Cap (Amanita Citrina) this mushroom smells strongly of raw potato and often has veil ( egg sack) reminants on the cap.
Field mushrooms (Agaricus Campestris) These mushrooms have pink to brown black gills not white and dont have a boulbous base or egg sace reminants at the base of the stem

Food Plant of…

some small mamals rabbits and squirrels have been seen to eat this mushroom with no ill effects.

Range and Distribution

The destroying angel is an uncommon mushroom preferring altitude in Britain and Ireland but can be found in lower areas especially in Scotland, it can also be found in Europe especially the coniferous woodlands of Scandinavia.


Often found at the edges of woodlands preferring deciduous woodlands.

Physical Characteristics



Like all amanita this mushroom grows from a volva (egg sack)

Pieria(Uploader and Photographer), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


The cap is pure white quite satin like when dry and viscus (slimy) when wet. Dome shaped when young and flattening with age, often has an umbo (lump)in the centre of the cap as it expands.

Σ64, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons


The gills are crowded and white, they are adnexed (narrowly joined to the stem)

Σ64, CC BY 3.0 <>, via Wikimedia Commons

Stem & Skirt

The tall stem is pure white and fibrous, hollowing with age, there is a fragile ring on the upper part of the stem but it often disappears

Pieria(Uploader and Photographer), Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons


Unpleasent sickly odour

Edible Use

None- Do Not Eat This Mushroom!

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