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Destroying Angel

(Redirected from Amanita virosa)

Destroying Angel
 : Fungi
 : Basidiomycota
 : Homobasidiomycetae
 : Hymenomycetes
 : Agaricales
 : Amanitaceae
 : Amanita
 : virosa
Binomial name
Amanita virosa

A Destroying Angel (Amanita virosa, A. bisporigera, A. verna, and A. ocreata) is a deadly toxic mushroom in the amanita genus, which contains some of the most toxic known mushrooms.

The Destroying Angel, along with the Death Cap (Amanita phalloides), is responsible for the overwhelming majority of deaths due to mushroom poisoning. The toxin responsible for this is alpha-amanitin.

Destroying Angels are rather distinctive looking. They are characterized by having a partial veil (annulus), which is a fleshy ring circling the stalk. Perhaps the most tell-tale of the features is the presence of a volva, or universal veil, so called because it is a membrane that encapsulates the entire mushroom, rather like an egg, when it is very young. This structure then breaks into various pieces when the young mushroom expands, thereby leaving parts that can be found at the base of the stalk as a boot or cuplike structure, and warts or patches of removable material on the cap surface. This combination of features, all found together in the same mushroom, is the hallmark of the family. While other families may have any one or two of these features, none have them all.

Most young amanitas look like mature button mushrooms or puffballs. This further emphasizes the importance of slicing all unopened mushrooms picked when mushroom hunting in half.

Last updated: 08-16-2005 13:26:58