The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Now including Clavariadelphaceae and Lentariaceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; ephemeral; simple, or compound; differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (Gompus being more or less cantharelloid), or erect-linear and unbranched (e.g., Ceratellopsis), or erect-clavate and unbranched (e.g., Clavariadelphus), or branched (e.g., Lentaria); tiny to large (ranging from tiny in Ceratellopsis to large in Clavaridelphus); 0.2–6 cm across; 0.4–30 cm high. The mature pileus of Gomphus, concave. The fruit-bodies white or whitish, or cream or yellowish to straw-coloured, or yellowish-brown, or yellow, or grey (to blue-ish). The stipe of Gomphus, with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium ribbed, or with pegs or spinose (spinose), or smooth. The hymenial layer not readily separable from the supporting flesh. The hymenophore in Gomphus, decurrent. Cystidia absent (in Clavariadelphus), or present (in others?); when present, leptocystidia, or gloeocystidia, or leptocystidia and gloeocystidia (?). The basidia ‘unmodified’; 4-sterigmate. The basidiospores hyaline to white, or yellow-brown; smooth, or ornamented.

The hyphal walls lamellate, with a thin, electron-dense outer layer and a relatively thick, electron-transparent inner layer. The hyphae with dolipore septa; monomitic. The generative hyphae inflated.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae not xanthochroic; green positive to ferric chloride.

Ecology. Saprophytic. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground (often, or on litter), or on dead wood.

British representation. 11 species in Britain; Ceratellopsis, Chaetotyphula, Clavariadelphus, Gomphus, Lentaria.

World representation. 107 species; genera 11.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Phallales.

Comments. This clumsy and unimpressive description reflects recent assignment of the former Clavariadelphaceae and Lentariaceae to this family, in the absence of adequate comparative descriptive data.

Illustrations. • Clavariadelphus pistillaris (LH). • Ceratellopsis aculeata, Clavariadelphus pistillaris, Gomphus clavatus (Petersens).

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.’.