The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; persistent; clustered, or solitary; attached laterally and bracket-shaped, or flattened and more or less appressed to the substrate or encrusting, with the hymenium on the outside (often loose, resupinate, pellicular). The hymenium smooth. The hymenial layer not readily separable from the supporting flesh. Cystidia absent. The basidia ‘unmodified’ (narrowly clavate, 4-sterigmate); not of the ceratobasidialean type (q.v.). The basidiospores ballistosporic; hyaline; inamyloid.

The hyphae with clamp connections, or without clamp connections. The hyphal walls lamellate, with a thin, electron-dense outer layer and a relatively thick, electron-transparent inner layer. The hyphae monomitic. The generative hyphae not inflated. The context hyphae not exhibiting distinctive right-angled branching; not inflated at the septa.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae not xanthochroic; not releasing green pigment when treated with KOH (?).

Ecology. Parasitic, or saprophytic; when parasitic, on vascular plants, or on mosses. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground (on remains of herbaceous plants, including bryophytes and pteridophytes), or on dead wood. Associated variously with broad-leaved trees and with conifers. The fruit-bodies commonly on trunks and branches of living trees, or on dead trees and fallen logs.

British representation. About 60 species in Britain; Amphinema, Athelia, Athelopsis, Byssocorticium, Cristinia, Dictyonema, Digitatispora, Fibulomyces, Hypochnella, Hypochniciellum, Irpicodon, Leptosporomyces, Luellia, Piloderma, Plicatura, Tomentellopsis, Tylospora.

World representation. 124 species; genera 26. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Polyporales (formerly Stereales).

Comments. Sometimes lichenized.

Illustrations. • Athelia arachnoidea, Cristinia gallica, Tylopora fibrillosa (Læssøe & 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.’.