The Blusher is the common name for several closely related species of the genus Amanita. A. rubescens, found in Europe and eastern North America, and A. novinupta in western North America. Both their scientific and common names are derived from the propensity of their flesh to turn pink on bruising, or cutting. Although edible, it can be confused with poisonous species, and should probably be avoided by novice mushroomers.
The European blusher has a reddish-brown convex pileus
(cap), that is up to 15 cm across, and strewn with small cream-coloured warts. It is sometimes covered with an ochre-yellow flush which can be washed by the rain. The flesh of the mushroom is white, becoming pink when bruised or exposed to air. This is a key feature in differentiating it from the poisonous False Blusher or Panther cap (Amanita pantherina)
, whose flesh does not.
The stipe (stem) is white with flushes of the cap colour, and grows to a height of up to 15 cm. The gills are white and free of the stem, and display red spots when damaged.
The spores are white, ovate, amyloid, and approximately 8 by 5 µm in size.
The flavour of the uncooked flesh is mild, but has a faint acrid aftertaste. The smell is not strong.
The mushroom is often attacked by insects.
Distribution and habitat
It is common throughout much of Europe
and eastern North America
, growing on poor soils as well as in deciduous
woodlands. It has also been recorded from South Africa, where it is thought to have been accidentally introduced with trees imported from Europe.
Closely related species include Amanita brunneolocularis
, A. orsonii
, A. rubescens
, and A. rubescens
Both of these species are edible when cooked. European Amanita rubescens
is known to contain a hemolytic
poison in its raw state; it is unknown whether North American A. rubescens
and A. novinupta
are similarly toxic in its raw state. This toxin is destroyed by cooking.
Amanita novinupta is highly regarded as a choice edible in the region in which it is found. However, the edibility of blusher species other than A. rubescens and A. novinupta has not been established and experimentation is not advised.
Some experts recommend avoiding the consumption of any species of Amanita.
- "Amanita brunneolocularis Tulloss, Ovrebo & Halling" by Rodham E. Tulloss, October 6, 2006.
- "Amanita flavorubens (Berk. & Mont.) Sacc." by Rodham E. Tulloss, July 25, 2006.
- "Amanita flavorubescens" by Michael Kuo, MushroomExpert.Com, September 2002.
- "Amanita orsonii A. Kumar & T. N. Lakh." by Rodham E. Tulloss, July 25, 2006.
- "Amanita rubescens var. alba Coker" by Rodham E. Tulloss, July 25, 2006.
- "Amanita rubescens var. congolensis Beeli" by Rodham E. Tulloss, July 25, 2006.