Amanita verna

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Amanita verna
Amanita verna-02.jpg
Scientific classification
A. verna
Binomial name
Amanita verna
(Bull.) Lam. (1783)
  • Agaricus bulbosus f. vernus Bull. (1780)
  • Agaricus vernus (Bull.) Bull. (1783)
  • Amanita virosa Secr. (1833)
  • Agaricus virosus var. vernus (Bull.) Fr. (1838)
  • Amanita phalloides var. verna (Bull.) Lanzi (1916)
  • Amanita verna var. grisea Massee (1922)
  • Amanitina verna (Bull.) E.-J.Gilbert (1941)
  • Amanita verna f. ellipticospora E.-J.Gilbert (1941)
  • Venenarius vernus (Bull.) Murrill (1948)
Amanita verna
View the Mycomorphbox template that generates the following list
Mycological characteristics
gills on hymenium
cap is convex or flat
hymenium is free
stipe has a ring and volva
spore print is white
ecology is mycorrhizal
edibility: deadly

Amanita verna, commonly known as the fool's mushroom, destroying angel or the mushroom fool, is a deadly poisonous basidiomycete fungus, one of many in the genus Amanita. Occurring in Europe in spring, A. verna associates with various deciduous and coniferous trees. The caps, stipes and gills are all white in colour.


Amanita verna was first mentioned in the scientific literature by French mycologist Jean Bulliard in 1780 as form vernus of Agaricus bulbosus. Bulliard warned that it could be easily confused with the edible field mushroom (Agaricus campestris), and that remedies for those who had eaten it included putting vitriolic ether in wine or crushed garlic in milk.[2] The species name verna is derived from the Latin word for "spring". Three years later, Jean-Baptiste Lamarck gave it distinct species status in his Encyclopédie Méthodique, Botanique.[3]

The fool's mushroom (Amanita verna), also known as the spring destroying angel or death angel, is a close relative of Amanita phalloides, the death cap, and a member of the mushroom genus Amanita. Amanita verna, like its close relative, belongs to the subfamily Phalloideae.


The fool's mushroom is pure white, all the way to the gills and the stipe.[4] This fungus, like all amanitas, has a volva. The fool's mushroom's cap is 5–10 cm (2–4 in) wide, and is about the same height.

This mushroom's lamellae is free and white, and the volva is bag-like and large. Its annulus is white and membranous, and A. verna react yellow with 20% potassium hydroxide solution, unlike its relative Amanita phalloides var. alba while Amanita virosa gets an orangeyellow reaction. The mushroom's spores are smooth and elliptical.[5]

Habitat and season

The fool's mushroom grows in European woodlands and hardwood forests in springtime as the fungus' Latin name (Amanita verna or spring destroying angel) suggests.[5]

Unlike various closely related poisonous amanitas, this mushroom is not known to occur in North America.


Closely related to other deadly pure white amanitas, the fool's mushroom is one of the most poisonous mushrooms in the world. Just like the death cap, this organism contains a fatal dose of alpha-amanitin, which causes liver failure if not treated immediately. While this mushroom (along with many other deadly and edible fungi) also contains phallotoxins, these phallotoxins are not toxic to humans (when ingested) as they are poorly absorbed.

This mushroom's toxicity and symptoms are similar, if not identical to that of the death cap. Like other members of the subfamily Phalloideae, the fool's mushroom has been implicated in a number of serious or fatal poisonings.

There are no negative symptoms from eating this fungus until 6–24 hours after ingestion. The first symptom is simply unease. Violent cramps and diarrhea follow. On the third day, the same symptoms repeat themselves, but while to many this may seem like a sign of recovery, most of the time it is simply a herald of the final onset of symptoms, which include kidney and liver failure due to amatoxins. At this point, drastic measures like liver transplants need to be taken, or the victim would most likely die.[6]

See also


  1. "GSD Species Synonymy: Amanita verna (Bull.) Lam". Species Fungorum. CAB International. Retrieved 2016-03-20.
  2. Bulliard JBF. (1780). Herbier de la France. Vol 1 (in French). Paris, France: P.F. Didot. pp. 97–144, plate 108.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  3. Lamarck J-B. (1783). Encyclopédie méthodique. Botanique (in French). 1. Paris; Liège: Panckoucke; Plomteux. p. 113.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  4. "This month's fungus is the death angel, Amanita bisporigera, Amanita virosa, and Amanita verna". Retrieved December 27, 2012.
  5. 5.0 5.1 Takahashi, Hiroshi. "Amanita verna" (in English and Japanese). Retrieved 2009-11-04.CS1 maint: unrecognized language (link)
  6. Volk, Tom (1997-09-01). "Tom Volk's Fungus of the Month for September 1997". University of Wisconsin. Retrieved 2009-11-04.

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