Yellow Patches

Family: 
Amanitaceae
Description: 

Cap ranges from orange to yellow, with yellowish patches; stalk has crumbling patches at the base, and a ring. Grows on the ground in mixed woods. June–November. Cap convex to almost flat; bright orange to yellow with yellow patches; texture sticky, smooth. Gills broad; spacing close; whitish to yellowish; attachment free or slightly attached. Stalk thick, with large bulb at base; white to pale yellow; texture smooth to scruffy, with crumbling patches at base; has ring. Universal veil yellow, leaving yellow patches on the cap and crumbly remnants around the base of the stalk. Partial veil white to yellow, leaving a skirtlike ring on the upper stalk. Spore print white. Spores magnified are elliptical, smooth.

Lookalikes: Many other Amanita species.

Size: 
Cap width: 1–3 inches; stalk length: 2–4 inches; stalk width: ¼–¾ inch.
Habitat and conservation: 
Grows on the ground in mixed woods. This is a very common and quite beautiful mushroom—but because it's an amanita, it should not be eaten. Misidentification could be deadly.
Distribution in Missouri: 
Statewide.
Status: 
Not edible. The edibility of the yellow patches has not been established. It should not be eaten because it resembles other amanita species, some of which are deadly.
Life cycle: 
This species is mycorrhizal: It exists most of the time as a network of cells (mycelium) connected to tree roots, in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the tree. Many trees fare poorly without their fungal partners. When ready to reproduce, the mycelium sends up the mushroom aboveground—this is the reproductive structure. Spores are produced in these structures and are released to begin new mycelia elsewhere. The mycelium of a mushroom can live for decades.
Human connections: 
Even if inedible or poisonous to humans, fungi have important roles in nature, and they possess a beauty in color and form that we can always enjoy.
Ecosystem connections: 
This is one of many fungi that help nourish trees through symbiosis, a mutually beneficial relationship. The netlike fibers of the fungus cover the tree's roots, increasing the surface area and the roots' ability to absorb water and nutrients. In return, the tree shares nutrients with the fungus.