Blusher mushroom Amanita rubescens

Scientific Name: Amanita rubescens (Amanitaceae). Rubescens ='reddening'.

English Name: Blusher mushroom (Amanita family).

French Name: Amanite rougissante (='reddening amanita'); Amanite vineuse (='winey amanita'); Amanite rouge√Ętre (='reddish amanita'); Golmotte; Golmette; Royal.

5 Key Characters:
  • large.
  • cap colour very variable, from almost white, through silvery, pink, brown, to almost black (most often pinky brown).
  • white flesh and gills of the cap and stem 'blush' pink when damaged and the base of the stem is usually flecked with pink. 
  • cap size very variable, ranging from 2.5 cm to 20 cm when mature, initially convex, then flat, then concave as the specimen ages, on a stem 7 - 15 cm long, 1 -2 cm in diameter.
  • cap flecked with off-white or grey (these may wash off in the rain).

Lookalikes: Grey-spotted Amanita A. excelsa, which does not 'blush' but otherwise is very like.  Caesar's Mushroom A. caesarea, which is much rarer, has a shiny orange cap with stripes on the edge and a yellow stem. Fly Agaric A. muscaria sometimes has a brownish cap, but the flecks on it are always pure white. Panther Cap A. pantherina has a brown cap with white flecks but does not 'blush'.

Habitat: Both broadleaf and conifer forest, especially if the soil is a bit acidic (which is why they are particularly common in conifer plantations). They occur in small groups usually.

Fruiting Period: June-July-August-September-October-November-December.

Status: Widespread and common.

Edible or Toxic? Generally considered edible if well cooked. It does contain a toxin which causes anaemia, which is active if the mushroom is consumed raw, but cooking destroys it. Experienced French fungi gatherers will happily eat young specimens. Older specimens are often maggot infested.

Photographed by Loire Valley Nature:

Blushers and Panther Caps displayed together after a fungi foray to show how similar they are. The mushrooms are roughly sorted with Blushers on the left and Panther Caps on the right. The point of this exercise is that Blushers are edible if prepared correctly, Panther Caps are very toxic.

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