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.
Habitat and Conservation
Mushrooms are a lot like plants, but they lack chlorophyll and have to take nutrients from other materials. Mushrooms are neither plants nor animals. They are in a different kingdom — the fungi. Fungi include the familiar mushroom-forming species, plus the yeasts, molds, smuts, and rusts.
Always be cautious when eating edible mushrooms. Be absolutely sure of the ID, and only eat a small amount the first time you try it to avoid a reaction..