Fragile amanita (Amanita friabilis)
|Size||Stem (stipe) height: 8 cm (2)|
Cap diameter: 3 cm (2)
Short-listed for inclusion in the Bern Convention by the European Council for Conservation of Fungi (ECCF), and included on the Red Lists of 11 countries (3).
This fungi bears a convex, beige cap upon a cylindrical stipe (stem) that appears bulbous at the end (2). The cap often carries the remains of a pale, fleecy veil (2). The tightly packed gills are white (2), and the spores are bright white (4).
WARNING: many species of fungus are poisonous or contain chemicals that can cause sickness. Never pick and eat any species of fungus that you cannot positively recognise or are unsure about. Some species are deadly poisonous and can cause death within a few hours if swallowed.
Endemic to Europe, this fungus is widespread but extremely rare throughout its range (4).
Fragile amanita has a mycorrhizal relationship with alder and is therefore always found in association with this tree. It has been found with Alnus glutinosa, A. incana and A. crispa in alder swamps and with A. viridis in sub-alpine habitat (3).
Fungi are an enormous group of organisms that are so distinctive from both plants and animals that they are placed in their own kingdom. The main body of the fungus is composed of a multitude of microscopic threads (known as ‘hyphae’) which are located within the substrate (5). The fruiting body (such as the more familiar mushroom or toadstool) is produced to release spores and thus allows reproduction to occur. Fungi feed by absorbing nutrients from their surroundings.
The fragile amanita mainly produces its short-lived fruits between August and October (4). The spores are produced on gills that radiate from the underside of the cap (5).
Fragile amanita is threatened by habitat disturbance in the form of wetland drainage, eutrophication of surface water and by the decline in its host tree, both through deforestation and the planting of other tree species such as Populus spp. and Picea spp. (4).
The fragile amanita is a candidate species for listing in Appendix I of the Convention on the Conservation of European Wildlife and Natural Habitats, otherwise known as the Bern Convention (3) (6). Proposed conservation measures include the restoration of ground water levels and the protection of appropriate forest sites (4).
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- Endemic: a species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
- Eutrophication: nutrient enrichment of aquatic or terrestrial ecosystems.
- Mycorrhizal: a fungus that forms a close physical association with the roots of a plant, this relationship is mutually beneficial.
- Spores: microscopic particles involved in both dispersal and reproduction. They comprise a single or group of unspecialised cells and do not contain an embryo, as do seeds.
- National Biodiversity Network, Species Dictionary (June, 2003) http://www.nhm.ac.uk/nbn/
- Courtecuisse, R. & Duhem, B. (1995) Mushrooms and toadstools of Britain and Europe. Harper Collins, London.
- The distribution, status and habitat requirement of the 33 fungal candidates for listing in Appendix I of the Bern Convention. (June 2003) http://www.artdata.slu.se/Bern_Fungi/Bern_Fungi.htm
- European Council for Conservation of Fungi (ECCF) (2001) Datasheets of threatened mushrooms of Europe, candidates for listing in Appendix I of the Convention. Bern Convention Standing Committee. http://www.nature.coe.int/CP21/tpvs34e.htm
- Pegler, D. & Spooner, B. (1992) The Mushroom Identifier. Apple Press, London.
- Bern Convention (June, 2003) http://www.nature.coe.int/english/cadres/bern.htm