Amanita rubescens: The Blusher

Amanita rubescens 2697

Amanita rubescens is called the blusher because all parts of the mushroom stain pinkish red when damaged. Although our club generally does not recommend eating any Amanitas this is a mushroom that some mycophagists (people who eat mushrooms) do eat. You must be very certain of your identification if you’re going to try this one.

The convex to flat, reddish brown to flesh colored caps range from 2 to 6 inches (5 to 15 cm.) across. The patches (remnants of the universal veil) are pinkish. The free, off-white gills are close to crowded and they bruise reddish to reddish brown when damaged. The white stems range from 2 ½ to 6 inches (6 ¼ to 15 cm.) tall and ¼ to 1 inches (6 ¼ to 25 mm) thick. The stems end in a swollen base and bruise red to red-brown when damaged. The membranous, skirt-like, whitish ring also stains pinkish. The spore print is white. The blusher mushrooms grow from July to October on the ground in both hardwood and conifer forests. The poisonous Amanita brunnescens has a brown to tan colored cap and bruises brown. The poisonous A. pantherina has a volva, cup-shaped structure, at the base of the stem, A. flavorubescens which does bruise red has a yellow cap and ring.

I have not eaten A. rubescens so I cannot speak to its flavor. Various mushroom guides recommend cooking them thoroughly if you are going to try them; like all mushrooms tried for the first time only cook and try a small portion and refrigerate a specimen or two in the event that you have trouble.