Key to Gilled Mushrooms Key
This is a key to gilled mushrooms, that is, mushrooms having a definite cap with a fertile surface consisting of gills. The fruiting body usually also has a stem, although that may be lateral or absent (usually, then, the mushroom is growing from wood). You can use this key to identify mushrooms that you find.
Fruiting body containing fibers (usually in the stalk)
Fruiting body having a combination of some of the following characteristics:
Stalk growing out of a cup of cottony tissue called a volva (all white-spored mushrooms with a volva go here)
Cap with scattered patches or flakes of the same sort of tissue as the volva (see second picture), easily peeled off
Annulus (skirt-like ring on stalk)
All yellow-capped Amanitas can go here
All Amanitas with concentric, toothed rings around the base of stalk definitely go here
No volva; basal bulb sometimes small, often rimmed in one way or another
Universal veil generally leaves remains on cap as small scattered patches
Small Yellow Smooth Bulb Amanitae SubSection
Base of stalk slightly and smoothly bulbous
Cap some shade of yellow; less than 5" across, and usually less than 3
Annulus usually present, but it may be fragile and easily lost, or plastered to the stem and overlooked
Here are the characters that distinguish this species from the others in its group. For its more general characters, see higher up on the page.
If there's just a few words or a microscopic feature here, a more thorough description can be found above.
This is the mushroom that is called Amanita gemmata in all your field guides, and at most forays. Actually, Amanita gemmata is a European species, which is much stockier than our Amanita russuloides of the Eastern USA. The picture is actually of the European species; ours is much more gracile and delicate looking. West of the Rockies are other lookalikes that have the more robust physique that of the pictured taxon (the Amanita gemmata of the Audubon Guide, for instance, shows the stocky Western version), but it's not clear that those are really Amanita gemmata either
And there are more slightly-bulbed, yellow-capped Amanitas out there. When I wrote to Rod Tulloss, asking him if this is what our Eastern "A. gemmata" is, he wrote back, "Yes, Amanita russuloides. There are other things that can be confused with it, but most don't have names."
Now you know as much as I do…