The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


‘Cup Fungi’.

Anamorphic forms occurring (these hyphomycetaceous).

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing asci and ascospores; persistent; when epigeous, flat-irregular, or discoid to cupulate, or tuberous to globose (formed from a single ascogonium or ascogonial coil); clustered, or solitary; usually sessile; tiny to small, or small to large; 1–6(–8) cm across, or 0.5–1.5 cm across (in Pachyphloeus melanoxanthus); not noticeably gelatinous when moist; brightly pigmented, or not brightly pigmented; cream or yellowish to straw-coloured, or yellowish-brown, or light brown to purplish brown, or dark brown, or olive, or orange, or yellow, or lilac, or blackish (etc.); apothecial, or perithecial, or cleistothecial; comprising a perithecioid structure enclosing asci and spores (and paraphyses), with no stroma; without carotenoid pigmentation; stromata absent. The asci elongated; asci operculate, or inoperculate (then opening via an apical slit); with more or less conspicuous apical thickening, or without obvious apical thickening; thin walled. The walls of the asci staining blue with iodine (at least near the tip). The ascospores smooth, or ornamented (often guttate); pale brown, or hyaline; simple; uninucleate; without a mucilaginous sheath.

The hyphae without clamp connections. The hyphal walls lamellate, double layered, with both layers electron dense.

Ecology. Saprophytic. The fruit-bodies subterranean (or almost so, when cleistothecial), or not subterranean; when epigeal, borne on the ground (variously on bare soil, in humus, on dung, on decaying leaves or conifer needles, etc), or on dead wood (often on very rotten wood, or decaying twigs and branches, etc.). Found in grassy places, in heathland, in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, in mixed woodland, and in places modified by human activities.

British representation. About 115 species in Britain (with almost 100 in Peziza); Boudiera, Hydnobolites, Iodophanus, Pachyella, Pachyphloeus, Peziza, Plicaria, Sarcosphaera, Sphaerozone.

World representation. 160 species; genera 19. Cosmopolitan.

Classification. Ascomycota; Ascomycetes; Pezizomycetidae; Pezizales.

Comments. ‘Operculate Discomycetes’.

Illustrations. • Pachyphloeus melanoxanthus, Peziza badia, P. repanda, P. saniosa, P. succosa, P. vesiculosa (LH). • Peziza repanda, photo: A. Myers. • Peziza badia and P. micropus (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.’.