Grey Spotted Amanita / Summer / Autumn / Edible
Grey Spotted Amanita, False Panther Cap, Grey Warted Amanita.
They are mycorrhizal with quite a few different trees including, oak, birch, chestnut, spruce and pine. Most often found along the edges of woodlands.
An edible member of the Amanita family but definitely not a beginners mushroom! Their lookalike is the Panther Cap (Amanita Pantherina) which is potentially deadly!
There are actually two variants of this mushroom, Amanita Excelsa variant excelsa and Amanita Excelsa variant spissa. Spissa is much more common in the UK and is slightly darker in colour. It’s more of interest to the mycologist rather than to the forager. We tend to treat them as one.
Domed when young the caps flatten out and sometimes become concave as they mature. They are grey/brown in colour and the surface is covered with the grey remains or fragments of their universal veil. These fragments can easily be brushed off or washed off by the rain so aren’t always present.
They are fairly stout and white to off white in colour, with a robust ring or skirt towards the cap. The top of the ring is grooved, the grooves go up towards the gills. Above the ring the stem is smooth or gently striated, below the ring there are white scales. The stem is bulbous at the base rather than ended in a volva.
The gills are white, fairly crowded and are free or very slightly adnexed.
Variant excelsa has a faint raddishy smell, variant spissa has an unpleasant smell.
They must be thoroughly cooked before consumption. They do contain some toxins but these are destroyed by heat.
The taste and texture is pleasant but due to the risk of confusing them with deadly Amanitas, most likely the Panther Cap they’re not very often collected.
Not for the novice. Only experienced or stupid foragers collect ring-less Amanitas. The flavour is nothing particularly special so their best left alone.
They do contain some toxins so must be thoroughly cooked before consumption.
They do look very similar in the Panther Cap (Amanita Pantherina) so should only be collected by experienced foragers. The Panther Cap has a smooth skirt and the veil that remains on the cap surface are white rather than grey.
The Blusher (Amanita Rubescens) could also look similar but its flesh bruises red. The Blusher is also edible.
Excelsa is a Latin adjective that translates to elevated or lofty, in reference to their stature while Spissa means dense, in reference to the closely-spaced/crowded gills.