AMF reader Terry Stone discovered this white Amanita in Central Arizona recently. Britt Bunyard of FUNGI magazine thinks it may be A. bisporigera, the infamous Destroying Angel, or a closely related species.
Our mountains are now producing good quantities of edible species of Amanita such as the Caesar’s Amanita, A. caesarea/”cochiseana”; the Blusher, A. rubescens/novinupta; and the grisette, A. vaginata. These mushrooms can be reliably differentiated from the poisonous species, but they should be eaten ONLY by very experienced collectors. If you make a mistake and consume a Destroying Angel instead, your health and even your very life will be in grave danger.[Ed. Note, 10/3/2014: Eminent amanitologist Debbie Viess has looked at this picture and informs us that this is in fact not a Destroying Angel. Instead, it appears to be a specimen of A. pantherina that has had rainfall wash off most of its usual warts. One of the photos indistinctly shows a few warts near the apex of the cap that did not wash off. The sun has bleached the cuticle, but even so, there is still a slight grayish tinge, whereas the Destroying Angels would show a more pure white coloration. The short, rolled, urn-like rim of the volva standing slightly away from the stipe just above the basal bulge is also characteristic of A. pantherina, whereas a true member of the Destroying Angel family would have a longer, floppier volva that might collapse onto the stipe. One would still bitterly regret eating this mushroom, but would keep their internal organs intact and likely survive for further adventures in ill-advised mycophagy.]