Biological Invasions

, Volume 8, Issue 5, pp 1131–1144 | Cite as

Last Chance to Know? Using Literature to Explore the Biogeography and Invasion Biology of the Death Cap Mushroom Amanita phalloides (Vaill. ex Fr. :Fr.) Link

  • Anne Pringle
  • Else C. Vellinga


The biogeography of fungi is poorly understood and a species in a novel location may be an introduction or an endemic newly identified within its native range. Using the literature of Amanita phalloides as a case study, we aim to illustrate both the limited utility of the historical record in establishing ectomycorrhizal (EM) species as introduced or invasive, and the difficulty of using modern records to establish a current biogeography. Amantia phalloides, the death cap mushroom, is deadly. It is a notorious fungus with a rich literature. Historical records can be used to explore the species’ distribution in North America, where the earliest publication on A. phalloides dates to 1834, and four different authors identified it as growing in California, Minnesota, Pennsylvania, North Carolina, and Maryland before 1910. In contrast, by mid-century field guides listed A. phalloides as rare on the West Coast and absent from the East Coast. In modern literature A. phalloides is described as a recently introduced and currently invasive species. The contradictions raise two questions: First, is A. phalloides an exotic to North America, and second, can early records be used to delineate the native distribution of any other less infamous EM fungus? We argue that confusion on the introduced status and biogeography of A. phalloides, and perhaps other fungi, is the direct result of shifting species concepts. When publications include an explicit species concept they can be used to establish A. phalloides as an introduction, for example on the East Coast of North America and in Australia. When species concepts are vague the literature is not useful and cannot be used to determine A. phalloides as an introduction, for example on the West Coast of North America or in Asia.


exotic or invasive mushroom or fungi fungal biogeography invasion and mutualism invasive species microbial invasion species concepts symbiosis 





Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. JF Ammirati, HD Thiers and PA Horgen, Amatoxin-containing mushrooms: Amanita ocreata and A. phalloides in California. Mycologia 69 (1977) 1095-1108PubMedGoogle Scholar
  2. RM Aroche, M Villegas, J Cifuentes, F Lorea and J Bonavides, Nuevos datos sobre la distribucion y taxonomía de Amanita phalloides en México. Boletín de la Sociedad Mexicana de Micología 19 (1984) 275-281Google Scholar
  3. D Arora, Mushrooms Demystified. Berkeley: Ten Speed Press (1986).Google Scholar
  4. SJ Bagley and DA Orlovich, Genet size and distribution of Amanita muscaria in a suburban park, Dunedin, New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Botany 42 (2004) 939-947CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. DR Benjamin, Mushrooms: Poisons and Panaceas. New York: W. H. Freeman and Company (1995).Google Scholar
  6. MJ Berkeley, Outlines of British Fungology; Containing Characters of Above a Thousand Species of Fungi, and a Complete List of All That Have Been Described as Natives of the British Isles. London: Lovell Reeve (1860).Google Scholar
  7. RP Bhatt, RE Tulloss, KC Semwal, VK Bhatt, JM Moncalvo and SL Stephenson, Amanitaceae reported from India: a critically annotated checklist. Mycotaxon 88 (2003) 249-270Google Scholar
  8. F Biek, The Mushrooms of Northern California. Redding, CA: Spore Prints (1984).Google Scholar
  9. TD Bruns, Thoughts on the processes that maintain local species diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi. Plant and Soil 170 (1995) 63-73CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. P Bulliard, Histoire des Plantes Vénéneuses et Suspectes de la France. Paris: A. J. Dugour (1780).Google Scholar
  11. IH Chapela, LJ Osher, TR Horton and MR Henn, Ectomycorrhizal fungi introduced with exotic pine plantations induce soil carbon depletion. Soil Biology and Biochemistry 33 (2001) 1733-1740CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. FH Chin, Edible and poisonous fungi from the forests of Sarawak: part II. Sarawak Museum Journal N.S. 39 (1988) 195-201Google Scholar
  13. JB Cleland, Toadstools and Mushrooms and Other Larger Fungi of South Australia I and II (1934–1936) (Photolitho Reprint). South Australia: A. B. James, Government Printer (1976).Google Scholar
  14. FE Clements, Minnesota Plant Studies IV. Minnesota Mushrooms. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota (1910).Google Scholar
  15. WC Coker, The Amanitas of the Eastern United States. Journal of Elisha Mitchell Science Society 33 (1917) 1-88Google Scholar
  16. MC Cooke, Handbook of Australian Fungi. London: Williams and Norgate (1892).Google Scholar
  17. J Diez, Invasion biology of Australian ectomycorrhizal fungi introduced with eucalypt plantations into the Iberian Peninsula. Biological Invasions 7 (2005) 3-15Google Scholar
  18. EM Doidge, The South African Fungi and Lichens to the End of 1945. Pretoria: Government Printer (1950).Google Scholar
  19. WA Dunstan, B Dell and N Malajczuk, The diversity of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with introduced Pinus spp. in the Southern Hemisphere, with particular reference to Western Australia. Mycorrhiza 8 (1998) 71-79CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. F-E Eckblad, Soppgeografi. Oslo: Universitetsforlaget (1981).Google Scholar
  21. KN Egger and DS Hibbett, The evolutionary implications of exploitation in mycorrhizas. Canadian Journal of Botany 82 (2004) 1110-1121CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. CW Emmons, Deaths from ingestion of mushrooms. Mycologia 54 (1962) 115-116Google Scholar
  23. D Ershad, Fungi of Iran. Tehran: Department of Botany Publication No. 10 (1977).Google Scholar
  24. WW Ford, The distribution of poisons in mushrooms. Science 30 (1909) 97-108PubMedGoogle Scholar
  25. WW Ford and ED Clark, A consideration of the properties of poisonous fungi. Mycologia 6 (1914) 167-191Google Scholar
  26. AB Frank, Über die auf Wurzelsymbiose beruhende Ernährung gewisser Baüme durch unterirdische Pilze. Berichte der Deutschen Botanischen Gesellschaft 3 (1885) 128-145Google Scholar
  27. Freedman B (1996a) Bay Area shocked by Amanita phalloides poisonings. Retrieved from on 29 April 2005
  28. Freedman B (1996b) Final report on recent Amanita phalloides poisonings. Retrieved from html on 29 April 2005
  29. EM Fries, Systema Mycologicum I. Gryphiswaldiae: sumtibus Ernesti Mauritii (1821).Google Scholar
  30. EM Fries, Epicrisis Systematis Mycologici. Upsaliae: e Typographia Academia (1836–1838).Google Scholar
  31. EM Fries, Monographia Hymenomycetum Sueciae I. Upsaliae: C. A. Leffler (1857).Google Scholar
  32. R Galli, Le Amanite: Atlante Pratico-monografico per la Determinazione del Genere Amanita Pers. Milano: Edinatura (2001).Google Scholar
  33. N Garrido, Survey of ectomycorrhizal fungi associated with exotic forest trees in Chile. Nova Hedwigia 43 (1986) 423-442Google Scholar
  34. HE Hallen, GC Adams and A Eicker, Amatoxins and phallotoxins in indigenous and introduced South African Amanita Species. South African Journal of Botany 68 (2002) 322-326Google Scholar
  35. Harkness HW and Moore JP (1880) Catalogue of the Pacific Coast Fungi, San FranciscoGoogle Scholar
  36. W Herbst, Fungal Flora of the Lehigh Valley, PA. Allentown, PA: Berkemeyer, Keck & Co. (1899).Google Scholar
  37. WG Herter, La aparición del hongo venenoso Amanita phalloides en Sudamérica. Revista Sudamericana de Botánica 1 (1934) 111-119Google Scholar
  38. Hoffman N (2004) Oakland woman dies after eating mushrooms. Retrieved from on 30 November 2004
  39. JD Hooker, The Botany of the Antarctic Voyage II Flora Novae-Zelandiae. London: Reeve and Co. (1855).Google Scholar
  40. TR Horton and TD Bruns, Multiple-host fungi are the most frequent and abundant ectomycorrhizal types in a mixed stand of Douglas-fir (Pseudotsuga menziesii D. Don) and bishop pine (Pinus muricata. D. Don). New Phytologist 139 (1998) 331-339CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. AT Hunziker, Amanita phalloides en las Sierras de Córdoba. Kurtziana 16 (1983) 157-160Google Scholar
  42. S Imai, Studies on the Agaricaceae of Hokkaido I. Journal of the Faculty of Agriculture, Hokkaido Imperial University 43 (1938) 1-178Google Scholar
  43. BF Isaacs and VE Tyler, Beta-amanitin in an Amanita from Oregon. Mycologia 55 (1963) 124-127Google Scholar
  44. DT Jenkins, Amanita of North America. Eureka CA: Mad River Press (1986).Google Scholar
  45. MD Jones and SE Smith, Exploring functional definitions of mycorrhizas: are mycorrhizas always mutualisms?. Canadian Journal of Botany 82 (2004) 1089-1109Google Scholar
  46. S Kawamura, Icones of Japanese Fungi Vol. IV. Tokyo: Kazamashobo (1964).Google Scholar
  47. PG Kennedy, AD Izzo and TD Bruns, High potential for common mycorrhizal networks between understory and canopy trees in a mixed evergreen forest. Journal of Ecology 91 (2003) 1071-1080CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Krieglsteiner GJ (1991) Verbreitungsatlas der Grosspilze Deutschlands (West). Band I: Ständerpilze. Teil B: Blätterpilze. Ulmer, StuttgartGoogle Scholar
  49. JE Lange, Mycofloristic impressions of a European mycologist in America. Mycologia 26 (1934) 1-12Google Scholar
  50. L Lange, The distribution of macromycetes in Europe. Dansk Botanisk Arkiv 30 (1974) 5-105Google Scholar
  51. GH Lincoff, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. New York: Alfred A. Knopf (1981).Google Scholar
  52. Link DHF (1833) Grundriss der Kraeuterkunde IV. Haude und Spenerschen Buchhandlung (S.J. Joseephy), BerlinGoogle Scholar
  53. L Litten, The most poisonous mushrooms. Scientific American 232 (1975) 91-101Google Scholar
  54. G Malençon and R Bertault, Flore des Champignons Supérieurs du Maroc I. Rabat: Faculté des Sciences (1970).Google Scholar
  55. R Marloth, Flora of South Africa. Capetown: Darter Bros. and Co. (1913).Google Scholar
  56. A Martínez, La presencia en la Argentina del hongo venenoso Amanita phalloides. Notas del Museo de la Plata 10 (1945) 93-99Google Scholar
  57. D McAlpine, Systematic Arrangement of Australian Fungi, Together with Host-Index and List of Works on the Subject. Melbourne: Robt. S. Brain, Government Printer (1895).Google Scholar
  58. C McIlvaine and RK MacAdam, One Thousand American Fungi. Indianapolis: The Bowen-Merrill Company (1902).Google Scholar
  59. Melik-Khachatrian DG (1980) Mikoflora Armianskoi SSR (Agaricales). Izd-vo Erevankogo gos. Universiteta, ErevanGoogle Scholar
  60. OK Miller, Mushrooms of North America. New York: E. P. Dutton and Co. (1979).Google Scholar
  61. WA Murrill, Illustrations of fungi-IV. Mycologia 1 (1909) 257-261Google Scholar
  62. WA Murrill, Poisonous mushrooms. Mycologia 2 (1910) 255-264Google Scholar
  63. WA Murrill, Illustrations of fungi-XIV. Mycologia 5 (1913) 93-96Google Scholar
  64. WA Murrill, Illustrations of fungi-XXV. Mycologia 8 (1916) 231-234Google Scholar
  65. MM Nauta and EC Vellinga, Atlas van Nederlandse Paddestoelen. Rotterdam: Balkema (1995).Google Scholar
  66. P Neville and S Poumarat, Amaniteae: Amanita, Limacella and Torrendia, Fungi Europaei 9. Alassio: Edizioni Candusso (2004).Google Scholar
  67. T Oda, C Tanaka and M Tsuda, Molecular phylogeny and biogeography of the widely distributed species, A. muscaria and A. pantherina. Mycological Research 108 (2004) 885-896CrossRefPubMedGoogle Scholar
  68. LO Overholts and MF Overholts, Some Kentucky fungi. Mycologia 8 (1916) 249-252Google Scholar
  69. Parent GH and Thoen D (1986) Etat actuel de l’extension de l’aire de Clathrus archeri (Berkeley) Dring (Syn. Anthurus archeri (Berk.) Ed. Fischer) en Europe et particulièrement en France et au Benelux. Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France 102: 237–272Google Scholar
  70. GH Parent, D Thoen and FD Calonge, Nouvelles données sur la repartition de Clathrus archeri, en particulier dans l’ouest et le sud-ouest de l’Europe. Bulletin de la Société Mycologique de France 116 (2000) 241-266Google Scholar
  71. JJ Paulet, Traité des Champignons. Paris: Impr. Nationale Executive du Louvre (1793).Google Scholar
  72. CH Peck, Annual Report of the State Botanist of the State of New York. Albany: James B. Lyon (1897).Google Scholar
  73. DN Pegler, A preliminary agaric flora of East Africa. Kew Bulletin Additional Series 6 (1977) 1-615Google Scholar
  74. A Peksen and G Karaca, Macrofungi of Samsun Province. Turkish Journal of Botany 27 (2003) 173-184Google Scholar
  75. Persoon CH (1797) Tentamen Dispositionis Methodicae Fungorum. Petr. Philipp. Wolf. LipsiaeGoogle Scholar
  76. CH Persoon, Synopsis Methodica Fungorum. Gottingae: H. Dietrich (1801).Google Scholar
  77. GD Piearce, An Introduction to Zambia’s Wild Mushrooms. Ndola, ZAMBIA: Forest Department (1970).Google Scholar
  78. CS Rao, GD Sharma and AK Shukla, Distribution of ectomycorrhizal fungi in pure stands of different age groups of Pinus kesiya. Canadian Journal of Microbiology 43 (1997) 85-91CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  79. K Rattanvilay, N Tavares, G Eliaser, G Hands, S Boynton, J Young, R Holtzer, TG Tong, R R.R and SB Werner, Mushroom poisoning among Laotian refugees – 1981. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 31 (1982) 21Google Scholar
  80. DA Reid, A monograph of the Australian species of Amanita Pers. ex Hook. (Fungi). Australian Journal of Botany Supplementary Series No. 8 (1980) 1-97Google Scholar
  81. DA Reid and A Eicker, South African fungi: the genus Amanita. Mycological Research 95 (1991) 80-95CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  82. A Ricken, Die Blaetterpilze (Agaricaceae) Deutschlands und der Angrenzenden Lander, Besonders Oesterreichs und der Schweiz I (Text), II (Tafeln). Leipzig: Verlag von Theodor Oswald Weigel (1910–1915).Google Scholar
  83. GS Ridley, The New Zealand Species of Amanita (Fungi: Agaricales). Australian Systematic Botany 4 (1991) 325-354CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  84. HR Rosen, A new Amanita from Arkansas. Mycologia 18 (1926) 97-99Google Scholar
  85. L Ryvarden, GD Piearce and AJ Masuka, An Introduction to the Larger Fungi of South Central Africa. Harare, Zimbabwe: Baobab Books (1994).Google Scholar
  86. NA Sawyer, SM Chambers and JWG Cairney, Distribution and persistence of Amanita muscaria genotypes in Australian Pinus radiata plantations. Mycological Research 105 (2001) 966-970Google Scholar
  87. HM Saylor, A. phalloides in California: This preliminary report suggests that it is a relative newcomer to the state. Mushroom Magazine 2 (1984a) 40-42Google Scholar
  88. HM Saylor, A preliminary report on the introduction of Amanita phalloides to California. Mycena News 34 (1984b) 17-18Google Scholar
  89. LD Schweinitz, Synopsis fungorum in America boreali. Transactions of the American Philosophical Society IV (1834) 141-316Google Scholar
  90. CJ Shepherd and CJ Totterdell, Mushrooms and Toadstools of Australia. Melbourne: Inkata Press (1988).Google Scholar
  91. D Simberloff, IM Parker and PN Windle, Introduced species policy, management, and future research needs. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 3 (2005) 12-20Google Scholar
  92. R Singer, Four years of mycological work in southern South America. Mycologia 45 (1953) 865-891Google Scholar
  93. R Singer, New and interesting species of basidiomycetes. VI. Mycologia 51 (1959) 375-400Google Scholar
  94. AH Smith, The Mushroom Hunter’s Field Guide. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (1958).Google Scholar
  95. AH Smith, The Mushroom Hunter’s Field Guide Revised and Enlarged. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (1966).Google Scholar
  96. AH Smith, The Mushroom Hunter’s Field Guide Revised and Enlarged. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (1973).Google Scholar
  97. AH Smith, A Field Guide to Western Mushrooms. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (1975).Google Scholar
  98. AH Smith and NS Weber, The Mushroom Hunter’s Field Guide All Color and Enlarged. Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press (1996).Google Scholar
  99. Sogg D (2000) Truffle madness: the race is on to grow these black winter delicacies in America. Retrieved from spectator on 31 January 2000
  100. BA Stein, LS Kutner and JS Adams, Precious Heritage: The Status of Biodiversity in the United States. Oxford: Oxford University Press (2000).Google Scholar
  101. FL Tai, Sylloge Fungorum Sinicorum. Academia Sinica, Peking: Science Press (1979).Google Scholar
  102. EA Takacs, Algunas especies de hongos formadores de micorizas en árboles forestales cultivados en la Argentina. Revista Forestal Argentina 3 (1961) 80-82Google Scholar
  103. PHB Talbot, Notes on some edible and poisonous mushrooms. In: JB Cleland (ed.) Toadstools and Mushrooms and Other Larger Fungi of South Australia I and II (1934–1936) (Photolitho Reprint). South Australia: A. B. James, Government Printer (1976) pp. Google Scholar
  104. LJ Tanghe, Spread of Amanita phalloides in North America. McIlvainea 6 (1983) 4-8Google Scholar
  105. LJ Tanghe and DM Simons, Amanita phalloides in the Eastern United States. Mycologia 65 (1973) 99-108PubMedGoogle Scholar
  106. M Taylor, Mushrooms and Toadstools (Mobil New Zealand Nature Series). Wellington: Reed Ltd. (1981).Google Scholar
  107. T Taylor, Student’s Hand-Book of Mushrooms of America Edible and Poisonous. Washington, D.C.: A.R. Taylor (1897).Google Scholar
  108. SC Teng, Fungi of China. Ithaca, NY: Mycotaxon, Ltd. (1996).Google Scholar
  109. HD Thiers, The Agaricales of California: Amanitaceae. Eureka, CA: Mad River Press (1982).Google Scholar
  110. JM Trappe, A.B. Frank and mycorrhizae: the challenge to evolutionary and ecologic theory. Mycorrhizae 15 (2005) 277-281Google Scholar
  111. M Traverso, Il Genere Amanita in Italia. Roma: Associazione Micologica ed Ecologica Romana (1998).Google Scholar
  112. RE Tulloss, CL Ovrebo and RE Halling, Studies on Amanita (Amanitaceae) from Andean Colombia. Memoirs of the New York Botanical Garden 66 (1992) 1-46Google Scholar
  113. Urbonas V, Kalamees K and Lukin V (1986) Conspectus Florum Agaricalium Fungorum (Agaricales s.l.) Lithuaniae, Latviae et Estoniae. Mokslas, VilniusGoogle Scholar
  114. S Vaillant, Botanicon Parisiense. Leide, Amsterdam: J. H. Verbeek and B. Lakeman (1727).Google Scholar
  115. E Valenzuella, G Moreno and M Jeria, Amanita phalloides en bosques de Pinus radiata de la IX Region de Chile: taxonomia, toxinas, metodos de dedection, intoxicacion faloidiana. Boletín Micológico 7 (1992) 17-21Google Scholar
  116. GCA Westhuizen van der and A Eicker, Field Guide to Mushrooms of Southern Africa. Cape Town: Struik Publishers (Pty) Ltd (1994).Google Scholar
  117. GCA Westhuizen van der and A Eicker, Some fungal symbionts of ectotrophic mycorrhizae of pines in South Africa. South African Forestry Journal 143 (1987) 20-24Google Scholar
  118. M Villegas, J Cifuentes, RM Aroche and P Fuentes, Primer registro de Amanita phalloides en México. Boletín de la Sociedad Mexicana de Micología 17 (1982) 140-146Google Scholar
  119. N Villeneuve, F Tacon Le and D Bouchard, Survival of inoculated Laccaria bicolor in competition with native ectomycorrhizal fungi and effects on the growth of outplanted Douglas-fir seedlings. Plant and Soil 135 (1991) 95-107CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  120. R Walleyn and J Rammeloo, The poisonous and useful fungi of Africa south of the Sahara: a literature survey. Meise: National Botanic Garden of Belgium (1994).Google Scholar
  121. AE Wood, Studies in the genus Amanita (Agaricales) in Australia. Australian Systematic Botany 10 (1997) 723-854CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  122. T Young, Common Australian Fungi: A Naturalist’s Guide. Kensington: UNSW Press (1994).Google Scholar
  123. W Yun and IR Hall, Edible ectomycorrhizal mushrooms: challenges and achievements. Canadian Journal of Botany 82 (2004) 1063-1073CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  124. Zerov DK (1979) Viznachnyk Hrybiv Ukrainy V: Bazydiomitsety. Nauk. Dumka, KyivGoogle Scholar
  125. S Zevin, D Dempsey and K Olson, Amanita phalloides mushroom poisoning: northern California, January 1997. Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report 46 (1997) 489-492Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer 2006

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  2. 2.Department of Plant and Microbial BiologyUniversity of CaliforniaBerkeleyUSA

Personalised recommendations