The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Including ‘Stink Horn Fungi’, ‘Basket Fungi’.

Including Clathraceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; ephemeral; angiocarpic (egg-like initially, but at maturity the dehiscent peridium releases the mucilaginous gleba on a rapidly expanding, hollow receptacle or pseudo-stipe); finally emerging from an “egg” (the volva) in the form of a stout, clavate structure bearing the mature spores on its slimy, strongly foetid, swollen apex (e.g., Phallus spp.), as a foetid, spherical, lattice (e.g., Ileodictyon), or as a foetid bunch of separate “tongues” (e.g., Clathrus); large to very large; 0.5–3.5 cm across; 10–20 cm high; brightly pigmented (e.g., the orange or green cap of Mutinus caninus), or not brightly pigmented; stinking foetid-foecal when mature (e.g., the very offensive faecal stench of Phallus impudicus, and the faintly faecal aroma of Mutinus caninus), or with a faintly sweetish or pleasant aroma (e.g., Phallus hadriani, with only a faintly sweetish smell), or with no particular odour other than an ordinary fungoid one. Gleba becoming mucilaginous and foetid (usually external, but internal in the Clathraceae). The peridium dehiscent (to release the mucilaginous gleba). The stipe (i.e., the pseudo-stipe, or receptacle) with a volva but no ring (the former represented by the basal remains of the “egg”). The hymenium smooth, or irregularly folded, ridged or wrinkled. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores statismosporic.

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

Ecology. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground (epigeal at maturity, with M. caninus often around rotted stumps or on decaying sawdust). Found in grassy places, in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, in mixed woodland, and in places modified by human activities.

British representation. 1260 species in Britain (Aseroë, Clathrus, Dictyophora, Ileodictyon, Lysurus, Mutinus, Phallus).

World representation. 77 species; genera 23. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Phallales.

Illustrations. • Phallus impudicus (Berkeley). • Mutinus caninus and Phallus impudicus (Price).

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.’.