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; differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (the stipe lateral, e.g. in Ganoderma lucidum), or attached laterally and bracket-shaped (e.g. in G. applanatum); medium sized to very large; 5–30 cm across. The stipe when present, with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium porose. The hymenial layer not readily separable from the supporting flesh. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores sub-globose to ellipsoid or truncate; ballistosporic; yellow-brown; ornamented.

The hyphal walls lamellate, with a thin, electron-dense outer layer and a relatively thick, electron-transparent inner layer. The hyphae dimitic (with skeleto- and/or skeleto-ligative hyphae). The generative hyphae not inflated.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae not releasing green pigment when treated with KOH.

Ecology. Parasitic, or saprophytic, or parasitic and saprophytic; when parasitic, on vascular plants. The fruit-bodies on dead wood and on living wood. Associated with broad-leaved trees. The fruit-bodies on trunks and branches of living trees, on dead trees and fallen logs, and on stored and construction timber. On living and decaying broad-leaved trees and shrubs, causing decay of standing timber. Found in broad-leaved woodland and in mixed woodland.

British representation. 10 species in Britain; Ganoderma.

World representation. 77 species; genera 4. Widespread, especially tropical.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Polyporales.

Comments. The sessile to stipitate basidioma leathery, with a waxy crust.

Illustrations. • Ganoderma applanatum and Ganoderma lucidum (LH). • Ganoderma lucidum, with other Polyporales (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.’.