The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


‘Lorchel’, ‘False Morel’.

~ Helvellaceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing asci and ascospores; erect-elongate, unbranched (to 12 cm or more high); capitate (the head sub-globose, contorted/convoluted and mop-like); solitary; stipitate; medium sized to large; 3–8 cm across; 5–12 cm high; white or whitish and dark brown, or white or whitish and blackish (with dark cap and light stipe); apothecial (large); producing asci and spores on an exposed hymenium; ascus-bearing hymenial layer strongly, conspicuously everted (to form the mop-like head); stromata absent. Asci operculate; the asci without obvious apical thickening; the asci thin walled. The walls of the asci not staining blue with iodine. The ascospores smooth; simple; tetranucleate; without appendages.

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

British representation. 7 species in Britain; Gyromitra.

World representation. 15 species; genera 1 (? - Gyromitra). Mainly North temperate.

Classification. Ascomycota; Ascomycetes; Pezizomycetidae; Pezizales.

Comments. Poisonous (e.g., G. esculenta has the heat-labile carcinogenic toxin, gyrometrin).

Illustrations. • Gyromitra esculenta (LH).

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.’.