Yesterday I noticed lots of Chocolate Slugs (Arion rufus) while walking at Seal Bay Regional Park. Most were simply crossing the trail, moving from one forested side across the relatively easy going “smooth” path to the other. Later in my walk I found some amanitas and once I spotted one group of these mushrooms, I saw several more. Many had signs of slug predation – scooped out depressions of white mushroom flesh against the darker caps. I didn’t photograph any of these since I was searching for a “perfect” specimen!
Unlike the Fly Amanita (Amanita muscaria) and Jonquil Amanita (Amanita gemmata) that I came across on my fall walks in the forest these were different. The Panther Amanita (Amanita pantherina) has a dark brown to tan cap that is covered with white warts (the remains of the universal veil). Distinguishing features for this species of amanita include a white stalk, a partial veil and a collarlike volva which Arora describes as “adhering to the bulb except for a free rim at apex of bulb.” A. pantherina fruits in both the spring and fall and grows in association with Douglas-fir (which Seal Bay Regional Park has in abundance). These mushrooms had all of these characteristics so I’m reasonably confident that this is indeed the Panther Amanita.
Considering that there wasn’t much blooming in the forest at Seal Bay it was fantastic to find these mushrooms. To learn more about North American mushrooms find a copy of David Arora’s Mushrooms Demystified in your local bookstore or library.