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; solitary; differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (Hygrophoropsis), or attached laterally and bracket-shaped (Tapinella); medium sized to large; in Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, 3–7 cm across. The mature pileus more or less flat or somewhat depressed to concave. The fruit-bodies brightly pigmented, or not brightly pigmented; in Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, orange to yellow. The top of the pileus of Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca, orange to yellow. The stipe when present, with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium borne on gills (these often forked). The hymenial layer readily separable from the supporting flesh. The hymenium not thickening. The hymenophore decurrent. The hymenophoral trama bilateral. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores ellipsoid; ballistosporic; hyaline to cream, or yellow; smooth; inamyloid (dextrinoid - brown in Iodine).

The hyphae with clamp connections. 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.

Chemical reactions. Supposedly not yielding prenylated phenols and quinones.

Ecology. Saprophytic. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground, or on dead wood. Found in heathland, in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, and in mixed woodland, or in places modified by human activities (Tapinella panuoides “on poles, sawdust, in cellars, etc.”: Berkeley).

British representation. 7 species in Britain; Hygrophoropsis, Tapinella.

World representation. 17 species; genera 3. Widespread, especially temperate.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Boletales.

Comments. H. aurantiaca, which can be confused with the true Chanterelle, Cantharellus cibarius, is not poisonous, but is not worth eating.

Illustrations. • Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca (LH). • Hygrophoropsis aurantiaca (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.’.