The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Including Gyrodontaceae p.p.; excluding Melanogastraceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; ephemeral; clustered, or solitary; differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (the margin of the pileus involute); medium sized to large; 3–15 cm across. The mature pileus convex, or more or less flat or somewhat depressed. The top of the pileus cream or yellowish to buff, or straw-coloured, or yellowish-brown to reddish-brown, or dark brown, or olive. The stipe bearing a ring but no volva, or with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium borne on gills (these often forked), or porose. The hymenial layer readily separable from the supporting flesh. The hymenium not thickening. The hymenophore decurrent (gelatinized). The hymenophoral trama bilateral. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores ballistosporic; yellow-brown, or olive to rusty brown; smooth, or ornamented (rarely echinulate to verruculose); without a germ pore.

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 and mycorrhizal (?), or saprophytic. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground. Associated with broad-leaved trees. P. involutus commonly under birch, Gyrodon on ash roots, but not mycorrhizal. Found in broad-leaved woodland and in mixed woodland.

British representation. About 14 species in Britain; Gyrodon, Paxillus.

World representation. 37 species; genera 7. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Boletales.

Comments. Sometimes somewhat poisonous (when raw, rendered harmless but uninspiring by cooking).

Illustrations. • Gyrodon lividus, Paxillus involutus, Tapinella atramentosa and T. panuoides (LH). • Paxillus involutus (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.’.