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; ephemeral; gymnocarpic; in Laccaria differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter, or a globose or tuberiform gasterocarp (Hydnangium s. str. being gasteroid, the gleba sub-lamellate to loculate); small to medium sized; 1–6 cm across. The mature pileus convex to parasol-shaped. The fruit-bodies brightly pigmented, or not brightly pigmented. The top of the pileus yellowish-brown to reddish-brown (e.g., Laccaria laccata), or blue to lilac (L. amythestina). The stipe with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium borne on gills. The hymenophoral trama not bilateral. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores subglobose; ballistosporic, or statismosporic; hyaline; ornamented (spinose).

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.

Ecology. The fruit-bodies subterranean, or not subterranean; when epigeal, borne on the ground. Found in heathland, in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, and in mixed woodland, or in Sphagnum bogs (e.g., L. laccata, sometimes).

British representation. About 20 species in Britain; Hydnangium, Laccaria.

World representation. 30 species; genera 4.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Agaricales.

Comments. At least Laccaria amethystina edible.

Illustrations. • Laccaria amythestina and Laccaria laccata (LH). • Laccaria laccata, with Tricholomataceae and Marasmiaceae (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.’.