American Caesar's Mushroom

My kids discovered this mushroom growing in our front yard on July 29, 2009. Its appearance was so striking that they excitedly ran into the house to describe it to me. I followed them out into the yard and they pointed to two mushrooms that were growing in a mossy, shady area beneath a large Post Oak tree. The mushrooms looked like two very red tomatoes growing atop yellowish, shaggy stalks. The kids had found an American Caesar Mushroom.

This mushroom really is a fungus fit for Caesar. It literally gets its name from the fact that it was reportedly a favorite of the Roman emperors. The American Caesar Mushroom that grows in North America is very similar to the Amanita caesarea that is found in Italy. The scientific names for the two American Caesar variaties are Amanita hemibapha and Amanita jacksonii. (source)

Although this mushroom is edible- discretion is the better part of valor. Why? Because this mushroom is in the Amanita family of mushrooms- as in a close cousin to the deadly Death Cap (Amanita phalloides) and the poisonous Fly Agaric (Amanita muscaria). Consider the following advice of a mushroom expert regarding eating this mushroom. Although he was able to distinguish between the edible American Caesar Mushrooms and the deadly members of its amanita family, when asked why he wouldn't even consider eating an American Caesar Mushroom, his reply was simple: "I don't eat amanitas." (source) I think that that is probably good advice.

This is perhaps the most beautiful species of mushroom that I have ever seen- and yes- it really was that red!


Eve said...

Kids find the best stuff Daniel! This is another great post in mushroom education!

I thought of you yesterday when I found a rattlesnake on our road! I freaked out a little. It was between our house and the neighbors, which is a little distance. I was taking Morgan's girlfriend home and the girls were a bit scared. Daniel, I decided that running it over would be the way to go (is that bad?) but I am not really good at killing critters and I missed! He probably bit my car!!! I turned around but he figured out my intentions and slid into the ditch. I had NO camera with me. I'll try to do a better job next time...well in remembering the camera!

PS your verification word was that some kind of drink? cause I could have used one after seeing that snake!!!

Daniel Spurgeon said...

Hi Eve, I don't like killing snakes either- however when one has kids or pets- and the poisonous snake is in the yard (or near it)- I would kill it without hesitation. I have never seen a rattlesnake anywhere that I have lived. I have seen them in the wild- but never at my house. It is too bad that you didn't get a photo of it though. I never seem to have my camera with me when I have an opportunity like you had either. I have started to carry the G9 with me whenever I go out- even if I am just going out for groceries. I did see a Ring-neck snake by the pool this morning- but I wasn't able to catch it. Bummer. :)

arjunv said...

i really loved the color on the mushroom.
yummy ;)

Swampthang said...

Daniel--This is my first time to this site, but I was looking for Info on this American Caesar's Mushroom. I ID'ed one yesterday, but I thought it was fly agaric without spots (NOT), so I surfed looking for the correct picture and ID. This is a beautiful mushroom, but other experts have said, "I don't eat Amanitas" I feel exactly the same way. In the Movie "THe Bear" which came out in the early 1990's, a little brown bear is orphaned, and he eats a fly agaric and starts hallucinating. That was pretty funny. Of course it was all manufactured. Swampthang

Gail said...

That color is gorgeous. I have never seen one like that.