Amanita ceciliae (Berk. and Broome) Bas - Snakeskin Grisette

Phylum: Basidiomycota - Class: Agaricomycetes - Order: Agaricales - Family: Amanitaceae

Amanita ceciliae - Amanita cecilae - Snakeskin Grisette

Less common but hardly less glamorous than Amanita crocea, the Orange Grisette, the Snakeskin Grisette is mycorrhizal with hardwoods and conifers.One of its older common names is Cecilia's Ringless Amanita, but I can find no information on the particular Cecilia (the saint, perhaps?) to whom this is a reference.

At maturity the caps usually flatten completely, retaining irregular grey veil fragments. (In West Wales on our forays we rarely see more than one or two of these mushrooms per year, but we will look out for some more mature specimens to photograph and add to this page.)

For a detailed description of the Amanita genus and identification of common species see our Simple Amanita Key...


Amanita ceciliae, Snakeskin Grisette, West Wales

Infrequent in Britain and Ireland but widespread across most of mainland Europe, Amanita ceciliae (or a complex of species similar to the one found in Europe) is also reported from North America.

Taxonomic history

First described scientifically in 1854 by British mycologists Miles Joseph Berkeley and Christopher Edmund Broome (1812 - 1886), this mushroom was originally named Agaricus ceciliae. (Most of the gilled mushrooms were included initially in the genus Agaricus!) It was given its current name in 1984 by the Dutch mycologist Dr Cornelis Bas (born 1928).

Synonyms of Amanita ceciliae include Amanita inaurata Secr., Amanita strangulata sensu auct. mult., and Amanitopsis inaurata (Secr. ex Gillet) Fayod. (All of the ringless amanita species were formerly grouped into the now disused genus Amanitopsis.)

Amanita ceciliae, Scotland


The specific epithet ceciliae is in honour of Cecilia Berkeley, wife of English botanist-mycologist Miles Joseph Berkeley (co-author of this species). This was an acknowledgement of Cecilia Berkeley's involvement in her husband's mycological work.

Identification guide

Amanita ceciliae - Snakeskin Grisette


Olivaceous fawn, darkest at the centre, margin much paler, especially in immature specimens; margin with strong radial lines; irregular grey veil fragments mainly in cap centre; convex, eventually flattening; 6 to 12cm across. (Picture courtesy of Simon Harding.)


Gills of Amanita ceciliae are creamy white, greying with age; they are free, with many short gills, and only moderately crowded.

Stem of Amanita ceciliae


Pale grey background, the surface developing snakeskin-like pattern of grey-brown scales - hence the common name Snakeskin Grisette. There is no ring on the 8 to 17cm long stem, which ranges from 1 to 2cm dia. The stem base is not swollen.

Volva of Amanita ceciliae



The bag-like white volva of Amanita ceciliae soon collapses leaving patches on stem base.

Spores of Amanita ceciliae


Spherical or very nearly so, smooth, 10.5 - 14µm in diameter, inamyloid.

Show larger image

Spore print



Not significant.

Habitat & Ecological role

Mycorrhizal, in mixed woodland.


August to November in Britain and Ireland.

Similar species

Amanita vaginata has a smoothish stem without a snakeskin pattern.

Amanita fulva has a tawny-orange cap and white gills.

Amanita crocea is orange and has a snakeskin-like pattern on its stem.

Cap of a mature Amanita ceciliae - Amanita cecilae - Snakeskin Grisette

Culinary Notes

Unlike some of the other ringless amanitas (commonly referred to grisettes), this mushroom is reported to be at least slightly poisonous; however, in Wild Edible Fungi: A Global Overview Of Their Use And Importance To People by E. R. Boa, Amanita ceciliae is listed as 'food'. Some authorities state that this species is 'not known to be edible', while many field guides warn against collecting Amanita ceciliae because of the possibility of confusion with deadly poisonous Amanita species, and so my advice is that it should not be gathered for eating.

Cap of a mature Amanita ceciliae - Amanita cecilae - Snakeskin Grisettes, Pembrokeshire

Reference Sources

Fascinated by Fungi, 2nd Edition, Pat O'Reilly 2016, reprinted by Coch-y-bonddu Books in 2022.

Funga Nordica: 2nd edition 2012. Edited by Knudsen, H. & Vesterholt, J.

BMS List of English Names for Fungi

Kibby, G (2012) Genus Amanita in Great Britain, published by Geoffrey Kibby.

Paul M. Kirk, Paul F. Cannon, David W. Minter and J. A. Stalpers (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi; CABI

Taxonomic history and synonym information on these pages is drawn from many sources but in particular from the British Mycological Society's GB Checklist of Fungi.


This page includes pictures kindly contributed by Simon Harding, Alistair Hutchison and Adam Pollard.

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