The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


‘Curtain Fungi’, ‘Web-veil Fungi’, ‘Fan Fungi’.

Including Crepidotaceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; ephemeral; solitary (mostly), or clustered (rather infrequently); differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (mainly), or discoid, cup- or funnel-shaped with the hymenium on top (e.g., the cyphelloid Chromocyphella), or fan-shaped (and the family worldwide now even including a few gastroid forms); small to large; (0.5–)1–12 cm across. The mature pileus convex to parasol-shaped, or more or less flat or somewhat depressed. The fruit-bodies brightly pigmented, or not brightly pigmented. The top of the pileus conspicuously patterned with scales, or not patterned with scales; white or whitish, or buff, or straw-coloured, or honey-coloured, or yellowish-brown, or reddish-brown, or light brown, or dark brown, or olive, or yellow, or lilac, or red, or grey. The fruit-bodies with an earthy, “spermatic” smell (in Inocybe species), or with a goat-like aroma (notably in Cortinarius traganus), or with no particular odour other than an ordinary fungoid one. The stipe bearing a ring but no volva, or with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium when agaricoid (i.e., mainly) borne on gills (the lamellae thin); not thickening. The hymenophore adnexed to decurrent. The hymenophoral trama not bilateral. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores ballistosporic (mainly), or statismosporic (when gasteroid); yellow-brown (Crepidotaceae), or rusty brown to brown (Cortinariaceae s. str.); smooth, or ornamented (often); without 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.

Ecology. Parasitic, or saprophytic and mycorrhizal; sometimes on mosses (e.g., Chromocyphella muscicola). The fruit-bodies borne on the ground (mostly), or on dead wood (e.g., Galerina praticola). Found in grassy places, in heathland, in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, and in mixed woodland.

British representation. Astrosporina, Chromocyphella, Cortinarius, Crepidotus, Dermocybe, Episphaeria, Flammulaster, Galera, Galerina, Gymnopilus, Hebelomina, Inocybe, Leucocortinarius, Locellina, Melanomphalia, Pellidiscus, Phaeocollybia, Phaeogalera, Phaeomarasmius, Phaeosolenia, Pleurotellus, Rozites, Simocybe, Stagnicola, Tubaria.

World representation. About 1500 species; genera 29. Widespread, especially north temperate.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Agaricales.

Comments. Pileipellis never epithelial.

Illustrations. • Cortinarius anomalus, caninus, bolaris, cinnabarinus, cinnamomens, pholideus, semisanguineus (LH). • Cortinarius armillatus, brunneus, flexipes, hinnuleus, lucorum (LH). • Cortinarius collinitus, C. livido-ochraceus, and C. trivialis (LH). • Cortinarius albo-violaceus, delibutus, elegantissimus, fulgens, mairei (LH). • Cortinarius bubulus, decipiens, obtusus, saniosus, saturatus, saturninus (LH). • Cortinarius tabularis, C. talus, C. triumphans, C. varius (LH). • Leucocortinarius, Flammulaster, Phaeomarasmius, Ripartites, Tubaria (LH). • Gymnopilus penetrans, G. junonius, and 5 Galerina species (LH). • Inocybe adaequata, asterospora, erubescens, leptophila, maculata, napipes (LH). • Inocybe corydalina, flocculosa, geophylla, griseolilacina, lacera, whitei (LH). • Inocybe bongardii, cookei, dulcamara, langei, praetervisa, rimosa, squamata (LH). • Inocybe rimosa and I. trechispora, with Bolbitiaceae and Strophiariaceae (Berkeley). • Galerina mniophila, Crepidotus mollis and Simocybe haustellaris, with Bolbitiaceae (Berkeley). • Crepidotus variabilis, with Agaricaceae and Stropharia (Berkeley). • Cortinarius anomalus and C. calochrous (Berkeley). • Cortinarius bolaris (Berkeley). • Chromocyphella muscicola (Price).

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.’.