Powdery Amanitas: Subsection Farinosae
A. crenulata, A. farinosa, A. parcivolvata, A. roseitincta, A. wellsii
In some Amanitas the universal veil (and in many of these species the partial veil, too) is so powdery that it doesn’t survive into the mushroom’s adulthood except as powdery smears on the cap and the small round knob at the base of the stem. These smears may thin out to the point where they’re translucent and appear like a light frosting on the cap surface.
In other cases, the universal veil material may hang together in loose crumbly sheets.
The most common and well-understood of the powdery Amanitas is Amanita crenulata, which occurs throughout the northeast with hemlock. It’s a fairly small mushroom, usually about 3” across. The cap is a yellowish or grayish tan (sometimes a slightly darker yellowish brown), with smears of universal veil material that are similarly colored, but lighter. It starts off with a ring, but this often gets torn apart and left as tiny shreds on the stem or the edge of the cap.
Rod Tulloss has described the universal veil material as champagne-colored, which I suppose could make the cap the color of the champagne bottle’s label (or vice versa, depending on which kind of champagne you like).
It only betrays its true nature if it still retains some of the scant powdery remnants on the cap (easily washed off by the rain!) or on the surface of the small knob at the base of the stalk.
It is by far the least colorful of the powdery Amanitas; its gray may be a little yellowish or brownish, but that’s about it. It has no ring nor any indication of one. It gets striate very quickly and gets even more striate as it ages.
There is also a west coast version of A. farinosa; it is “two to three times the size of the true A. farinosa of eastern North America and Central America”, often more robust in stature, less striate and more persistently powdery. It’s clear that this is a different mushroom from the original, eastern A. farinosa, but it doesn’t have a name of its own yet. So it is called A. farinosa sensu Thiers, or A. farinosa sensu auct. Pacific Northwest states.
In any case, the mushroom can be very difficult to identify in age, when most of the powder is gone and it’s easy not to realize that it’s an Amanita. Here, there is just a gray fringe of powder along the upper edge of the bulb.
Amanita parcivolvata is very common in southeastern North America, although it occurs in the coastal/Appalachian northeast as far north as New Jersey. It looks a lot like muscaria, but it has no ring, and doesn’t generally get much bigger than the ones shown here. Also, the wheels of tissue at the base of the stalk don’t have the angular cogwheel forms of muscaria and are a lot softer. Most of the Amanitas in Section Amanita are striate; but parcivolvata gets striate very young, and its striations remain a prominent feature of the cap. Instead of leaving a ring, the partial veil of Amanita parcivolvata crumbles into yellow powder that coats the stem.
Although the universal veil leaves chunky fragments on the cap, these too are very crumbly. They are also yellow, like the partial veil, but fade soon in the sun. And the cap itself, like almost all of our red-capped Amanitas, fades to orange and then yellow, starting at the edges and working its way inward.
Here is that mushroom with some younger mushrooms. This shows the rounded basal bulb, the appearance of the powdery layer at different stages of development, and also how this material tends to hang off the mushroom in sheets.
This is a very distinctive mushroom, and you’d think it’s impossible to confuse with anything else, but actually section Lepidella includes Amanita daucipes, which also has a universal veil covering that is brownish pink and powdery, and hangs off in sheets. It is even southeastern in distribution, too!
These can be distinguished in a number of ways. Daucipes bruises a darker brownish pink, whereas A. roseitincta doesn’t change color upon bruising. And the powdery covering of Amanita daucipes is coarser. Its bulb is often darker and more massive, and can have a flatter top. But the definitive difference is that A. daucipes is in the other subgenus and so has amyloid spores, whereas A. roseitincta does not.
The partial veil mostly remains as an irregular cottony fringe on the cap, and sometimes as a cottony line around the stalk. It has been reported with a variety of plant partners, including blueberry.