Back in May of 2014, I blogged about a new yellow Amanita found under pines at Otari Wilton’s Bush. At the time I referred it to the North American species Amanita gemmata var. exannulata and noted that this is a working name rather than a real name.
So what’s happened since then? If we look at the name Amanita gemmata, which is a European and not a North American name, it was reviewed by Geoff Kibby in early 2016 and he rejected the “gemmata” and made it a synonym of Amanita muscaria. That meant that the next legitimately published name for this species is Amanita junquillea. So if any of you are using NatureWatchNZ [which has in the last month become iNaturalistNZ] then this is the name being used there.Is it the right name? If the New Zealand population is derived from western North America, as I suggested, it depends whether this is the same as the European Amanita junquillea. If not then it will eventually get a new name. Currently, in western North America these names are used for this yellow species or species complex:
- Amanita gemmata
- Amanita gemmata var. exannulata
- Amanita breckonii
- Amanita pseudobreckonii
It will be interesting to see what name is eventually accepted. Just out of interest Amanita breckonii was originally described from California from Pinus radiata near sea level; all but one of the New Zealand collections are from under Pinus radiata.
While cruising the online literature I found the same Amanita being reported from under Pinus radiata and eucalypts in Chile [Austral Fungi, 2007]. In Chile, it was originally called Amanita gemmata but later renamed Amanita toxica. It clearly fits the description of Amanita breckonii.In the meantime here in New Zealand, this Amanita has been collected from a couple of sites in the southern North Island but with the majority of collections from around greater Wellington [see the maps reproduced from iNaturalistNZ]. As I said above all bur one have been collected from under Pinus radiata with the outlier from under Douglas-fir [Pseudotsuga menziesii] at Pukaha Mt Bruce, although there may have been pines nearby.
It is hard to explain this distribution of collections of the past four years and with absolutely no record of it in New Zealand before this time, despite Amanita being well documented here. All of the specimens have been found through citizen science. Given the concentration of citizen scientists in Wellington, the lack of collections between Wellington on the most northerly three collections may just represent the lack of collectors rather than a lack of Amanita fruitbodies.
So keep looking so that we can record this species spread in New Zealand and in the meantime we will wait for the western North American’s to resolve the name.
PS: One collection in Auckland city has been tentatively identified as Amanita junquillea. However, it was found under oak (Quercus robur) so is more likely to be Amanita phalloides which is usually found under oaks in Auckland.