The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing asci and ascospores; discoid to cupulate, or cushion-shaped (usually, never hairy); usually stipitate; small; brightly pigmented, or not brightly pigmented (at least sometimes whitish); apothecial (usually), or cleistothecial (rarely); producing asci and spores on an exposed hymenium, or tuberous or globose and subterranean, the asci and spores produced from an enclosed hymenium; stromata absent. The asci 8-spored, persistent, usually broad, protruding above the hymenium when mature; asci operculate; apically thin walled (even when immature). The walls of the asci staining blue with iodine (rarely), or not staining blue with iodine. The ascospores biseriately arranged, sometimes dispersed as a common unit; ellipsoid (usually?), or elongate; usually strongly ornamented (thick walled); usually dark brown (often with a purple-brown epispore); simple; with a mucilaginous sheath, or without a mucilaginous sheath.

The hyphae without clamp connections. The hyphal walls lamellate, double layered, with both layers electron dense.

Ecology. Saprophytic. Coprophilous (often), or keratinophilic, or neither coprophilous nor particularly associated with decaying keratinous materials (sometimes on decaying herbaceous plants, e.g. Umbelliferae). The fruit-bodies on dead wood.

British representation. About 60 species in Britain; Ascobolus, Ascophanus, Saccolobus, Thecotheus.

World representation. 106 species; genera 9. Mostly temperate.

Classification. Ascomycota; Ascomycetes; Pezizomycetidae; Pezizales.

Illustrations. • Ascobolus brassicae and Saccobolus beckii (Petersens).

To view the illustrations with captions giving names in current use, go to the interactive key. This also offers full and partial descriptions, diagnostic descriptions, differences and similarities between taxa, lists of taxa exhibiting or lacking specified attributes, distributions of character states within any set of taxa, source references, and other relevant material.

Cite this publication as: ‘Watson, L., and Dallwitz, M.J. 2008 onwards. The families of mushrooms and toadstools represented in the British Isles. Version: 6th March 2015.’.