Grayish white cap with grayish brown warts that are often erect, and a long stalk with grayish brown warts. Grows on the ground in mixed woods. August–September. Cap convex to almost flat; grayish white, with grayish brown warts; texture slightly sticky when wet; warts can be scalelike but are often erect or conical. Gills medium broad; spacing close; whitish to cream; attachment free or slightly attached. Stalk with bulb at base, then tapering and rooting; grayish white, with grayish brown warts; warts on lower part; has ring. Universal veil whitish, leaving grayish brown warts on the cap and stem. Partial veil whitish-cream, leaving a skirtlike ring on the upper stalk. Spore print white. Spores magnified are broadly ellipsoid. Has an unpleasant odor.
Lookalikes: Many other amanita species. The "old man of the woods" (Strobilomyces floccopus) and the "confusing old man of the woods" (S. confusus) are similar looking, but have pores, not gills.
Cap width: 1–4 inches; stalk length: 1½–6 inches; stalk width: ½–¾ inch.
Habitat and Conservation
Grows on the ground in mixed woods. This species has the unusual color combination of a grayish white cap with grayish brown warts.
This species is mycorrhizal: It exists most of the time as a network of cells (mycelium) connected to tree roots, in a symbiotic relationship with the tree. (Many trees fare poorly without their fungal partners.) When ready to reproduce, the mycelium forms the mushroom aboveground—this is the reproductive structure. Spores are produced in these structures and are released to begin new mycelia elsewhere.
Many inedible and even poisonous fungi have important roles in nature, benefiting humans indirectly by keeping forests productive and healthy. They each also possess a strange beauty in color and form that only humans can enjoy.
This is one of many fungus species that help nourish forest trees through symbiosis. The netlike fibers of the fungus cover the surface of a tree’s roots, increasing the surface area and the roots’ ability to absorb water and nutrients. In return, the tree shares nutrients with the fungus.
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..