AppearanceThe European blusher has a reddish-brown convex pileus (cap), that is up to 15 cm across, and strewn with small cream-coloured warts. It is sometimes covered with an ochre-yellow flush which can be washed by the rain. The flesh of the mushroom is white, becoming pink when bruised or exposed to air. This is a key feature in differentiating it from the poisonous False Blusher or Panther cap (Amanita pantherina), whose flesh does not. The stipe (stem) is white with flushes of the cap colour, and grows to a height of up to 15 cm. The gills are white and free of the stem, and display red spots when damaged. The ring is striate (i.e. has ridges) on its upper side, another feature distinguishing it from Amanita pantherina. The spores are white, ovate, amyloid, and approximately 8 by 5 µm in size.
The flavour of the uncooked flesh is mild, but has a faint acrid aftertaste. The smell is not strong.
The mushroom is often attacked by insects.
DistributionIt is common throughout much of Europe and eastern North America, growing on poor soils as well as in deciduous or coniferous woodlands. It has also been recorded from South Africa, where it is thought to have been accidentally introduced with trees imported from Europe.
UsesBoth of these species are edible when cooked. European Amanita rubescens is known to contain a hemolytic poison in its raw state; it is unknown whether North American A. rubescens and A. novinupta are similarly toxic in its raw state. This toxin is destroyed by cooking.
Amanita novinupta is highly regarded as a choice edible in the region in which it is found. However, the edibility of blusher species other than A. rubescens and A. novinupta has not been established and experimentation is not advised.
Some experts recommend avoiding the consumption of any species of Amanita.
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