Common Name:  Destroying Angel, Death Angel

Scientific Name:  Amanita virosa (virosa is stinking or fetid in Latin)


The Destroying Angel is the most common of the genus Amanita and is easily recognized as a pure white, seemingly innocent mushroom that invites harvesting and consuming.  It is highly toxic, however, and is responsible for most of the deaths due to mushroom ingestion.  (The genus Amanita is responsible for about 90% of total mushroom fatalities)


Potpourri   The deadly toxin in the Destroying Angel is an amatoxin.  Amatoxins are taken up by the liver. There is a 6-12 hour latency phase, followed by abdominal cramps and diarrhea. In 4 to 8 days, a hepatic coma combined with renal (kidney) failure results in death.  A fatal dose consists of 0.1 mg/kg of body weight.  For a 70 kilogram person (about 150 pounds), this amounts to 7 milligrams. 


The Destroying Angel can be positively identified by digging up the base (right).  The base of the stalk is a large sac-like cup called the vulva.   The immature fruit body is egg-shaped.  When it starts to grow, the cap detaches from the base, leaving the vulva and an annular ring around the stalk.