Amanita species account for 90 percent of mushroom-related deaths, so you should be familiar with them. Each amanita starts as an egg-shaped button that can resemble a small puffball. This breaks open as the mushroom grows. Fully developed amanitas are gilled mushrooms with parasol-shaped caps that may be white, yellow, red, or brown. They also have: 1. A saclike cup surrounding the base of the stem. This often is buried just beneath the soil surface and may not be obvious. 2. A ring on the stem. 3. White gills. 4. A white spore print. Both the ring and the bulb may be destroyed by rain or other disturbance. For this reason, beginning mushroom hunters should avoid all parasol-shaped mushrooms with white gills.
This is a large group of mushrooms, which can be difficult to tell apart. Some amanitas with memorable names include destroying angel, fly agaric, yellow patches, blusher, grisette, ringless panther, death cap and fool's mushroom.