Amanita species are among the most stately of mushrooms. There is something about an Amanita that is instantly recognisable, once you get to know a few of them. (The genus Limacella is also included in the family Amanitaceae.)
For a detailed description of the Amanita genus and identification of species see our Simple Amanita Key...
The Amanita genus, which contains more than 600 species worldwide, was first named (with its present meaning and with the Fly Agaric, Amanita muscaria, as the 'type species') in 1797 by Christiaan Hendrik Persoon.
The origin of the genus name Amanita is lost in the mists of time. Several alternative hypotheses have been out forward, but one that many authorities suggest is credible is that it is in some way a reference to Mount Amanon, a mountain in Cicilia overlooking the north-eastern Mediterranean.
This group of agarics (fungi with caps and gills mounted upon a stem) is well know for the prized edible Caesar's Mushroom (Amanita caesarea) as well as several deadly poisonous species - Amanita phalloides and Amanita virosa , for example. This group also contains Amanita muscaria, commonly known as the Fly Agaric, one of the most beautiful of all the gilled fungi.
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