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; ephemeral; clustered (mostly), or solitary (e.g., Naucoria scolecina); differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (the pileipellis forming a true epithelium); small to large; (1–)2–7(–12) cm across. The mature pileus convex (mostly), or parasol-shaped to more or less flat or somewhat depressed. The top of the pileus buff, or straw-coloured, or honey-coloured, or yellowish-brown, or reddish-brown, or light brown, or dark brown, or purple (-ish), or blackish. The fruit-bodies smelling of radish (in Hebeloma crustuliforme), or with no particular odour other than an ordinary fungoid one. The pileipellis forming a continuous epithelium. The stipe bearing a ring but no volva, or with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium borne on gills (the lamellae thin); not thickening. The hymenophore free to decurrent. The hymenophoral trama not bilateral. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores ballistosporic; yellow-brown, or rusty brown; smooth; with a germ pore.

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 inflated. Spaerocysts not occurring among the context hyphae.

Ecology. Saprophytic. Coprophilous (e.g, some Panaeolus species), or neither coprophilous nor particularly associated with decaying keratinous materials. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground. Found in grassy places, in heathland, in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, in mixed woodland, and in places modified by human activities (and in bogs and ditches).

British representation. Agrocybe, Bolbitius, Conocybe, Hebeloma, Naucoria, Panaeolina, Panaeolus, Pluteolus.

World representation. About 350 species; genera about 15. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Agaricales.

Comments. Sometimes poisonous (or psychotropic).

Illustrations. • Agrocybe (4 spp.), Bolbitius titubans, Conocybe apala, Conocybe tenera (LH). • Panaeolina foenisecii, Panaeolus acuminatus, Panaeolus semiovatus (LH). • 7 species of Hebeloma (LH). • Naucoria escharoides, N. salicis and N. scolecina (LH). • Agrocybe pediades, Hebeloma crustuliforme and H. longicaudum, with Cortinariaceae (Berkeley). • Agrocybe praecox, with Strophiariaceae and Cortinariaceae (Berkeley). • Panaeolina foenisecii, Panaeolus fimipurtis and Panaeolus semiovatus (Berkeley). • Paxillus involutus (Berkeley).

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.’.