The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Including the ‘Dry Rot’ Fungus.


Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; gymnocarpic; flattened and more or less appressed to the substrate or encrusting, with the hymenium on the outside (resupinate and flat or effuso-reflexed); medium sized to very large; (4–)5–50 cm across. The hymenium with pegs or spinose, or smooth, or irregularly folded, ridged or wrinkled (smooth to meruloid or pseudoporoid); not thickening. The hymenophoral trama bilateral. The basidia ‘unmodified’; not of the ceratobasidialean type (q.v.). The basidiospores ellipsoid to fusoid; ballistosporic; yellow-brown; smooth; inamyloid (dextrinoid).

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.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae not xanthochroic.

Ecology. Saprophytic. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground (then humicolous), or on dead wood (including the notorious Dry Rot Fungus, Serpula lacrymans). Associated with broad-leaved trees and with conifers. The fruit-bodies on trunks and branches of living trees, on dead trees and fallen logs, and on stored and construction timber. Mostly associated with trees. Found in broad-leaved woodland, in mixed woodland, in coniferous woodland, and in places modified by human activities (in forests, or sometimes attacking structural timber with devastating effects).

British representation. Coniophora, Jaapia, Leucogyrophana, Pseudomerulius, Serpula.

World representation. 42 species; genera 11. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Boletales.

Illustrations. • Coniophora puteana, Serpula lacrymans (LH). • Serpula lacrymans (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.’.