Barcode of Life Data Systems (BOLD) Stats Specimen Records:771 Specimens with Sequences:728 Specimens with Barcodes:641 Species:242 Species With Barcodes:235 Public Records:600 Public Species:209 Public BINs:0
The genusAmanita contains about 600 species of agarics including some of the most toxic known mushrooms found worldwide, as well as some well-regarded edible species. This genus is responsible for approximately 95% of the fatalities resulting from mushroom poisoning, with the death cap accounting for about 50% on its own. The most potent toxin present in these mushrooms is α-amanitin.
The genus also contains many edible mushrooms, but mycologists discourage mushroom hunters, other than knowledgeable experts, from selecting any of these for human consumption. Nonetheless, in some cultures, the larger local edible species of Amanita are mainstays of the markets in the local growing season. Samples of this are Amanita zambiana and other fleshy species in central Africa, A. basii and similar species in Mexico, A. caesarea in Europe, and A. chepangiana in South-East Asia. Other species are used for colouring sauces, such as the red A. jacksonii with a range from eastern Canada to eastern Mexico.
Many species are of unknown edibility, especially in countries such as Australia, where many fungi are little-known. Understandably, this is not a genus that lends itself to safe experimentation.
The name is possibly derived from Amanon, a mountain in Cilicia.
The genus Amanita was first published with its current meaning by Christian Hendrik Persoon in 1797. Under the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature, Persoon's concept of Amanita, with Amanita muscaria (L.) Pers. as the type species, has been officially conserved against the older Amanita Boehm (1760), which is considered a synonym of Agaricus L.
More recently, a series in the subgenus Lepidella has been found to cause acute renal failure, including A. smithiana of northwestern North America, A. pseudoporphyria of Japan, and A. proxima of southern Europe.
Although a few species of Amanita are edible, many fungi experts advise against eating a member of Amanita unless the species is known with absolute certainty. Because so many species within this genus are so deadly toxic, if a specimen is identified incorrectly, consumption may cause extreme sickness and possibly death.