The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


‘Bird Nest Fungi’.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; angiocarpic; maturing to form a tiny cup, with a cover of velvety tissue which disintegrates to reveal a “nest” full of little, spring-loaded “eggs”, the latter being dispersed full of spores (i.e., the gasterocarp nest- or funnel-like, with a circumsessile epiphragm; the gleba comprises one to seven individual glebal chambers with hardened walls (peridioles), which are distributed by a splash-cup mechanism); tiny to small; 0.5–2 cm across; 0.5–2 cm high. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores often large; statismosporic; hyaline; smooth.

The hyphal walls lamellate, with a thin, electron-dense outer layer and a relatively thick, electron-transparent inner layer.

Ecology. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground, or on dead wood (sometimes on soil, but mostly on sticks, fir cones, etc.). Found in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, and in mixed woodland.

British representation. Crucibulum, Cyathus, Mycocalia, Nidularia.

World representation. 56 species; genera 4. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Agaricales.

Comments. The gasterocarp small, only 1–10 mm in diameter.

Illustrations. • Crucibulum laeve, Cyathus olla, Cyathus striatus (LH). • Cyathus olla (Berkeley). • Crucibulum laeve and Cyathus striatus (Berkeley). • An unidentified Bird's nest fungus from Ecuador: Ecominga reserve, 2011.

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.’.