The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


‘Bracket Fungi’.

Including Coriolaceae p.p., Lentinaceae p.p.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; persistent; clustered, or solitary; more or less stipitate (usually), or sessile; erect-linear and unbranched (e.g. Polyporus tuberaster)), or attached laterally and bracket-shaped (usually, though generally more or less stipitate save in the Coriolaceae component, the stipe often with a black crust), or differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (e.g., Polyporus brumalis, which exhibits a long central stipe); medium sized to very large; 3–50 cm across; brightly pigmented, or not brightly pigmented (mostly); with flesh not beef-steak like (i.e., unlike that of Fistulina). The stipe when present, with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium borne on gills (e.g., in the Lentinaceae component), or ribbed, or porose (then the pores sometimes radially elongated, e.g. Trametes gibbosa). The gills atypical, rather obviously representing laterally flattened and radially elongated pores or cupules (sometimes?), or conventional, not obviously suggestive of modified pores or cupules (at least in the Lentinaceae component). The edges of the gills not split longitudinally. The hymenial layer not readily separable from the supporting flesh. Cystidia absent (by contrast with Hymenochaetaceae). The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores cylindrical; ballistosporic; hyaline; smooth; inamyloid.

The hyphal walls lamellate, with a thin, electron-dense outer layer and a relatively thick, electron-transparent inner layer. The hyphae monomitic (some Lentinaceae), or dimitic (mostly, with skeleto-ligative hyphae). The generative hyphae not inflated.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae not xanthochroic.

Ecology. Parasitic, or saprophytic, or parasitic and saprophytic; on vascular plants. The fruit-bodies on dead wood and on living wood (on living and decaying trees and shrubs). Found in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, and in mixed woodland.

British representation. About 100 species in Britain; Cerrena, Coriolopsis, Coriolus, Daedaleopsis, Datronia, Dichomitus, Faerberia, Fomes, Haploporus, Haploporus, Laetiporus, Lentinus, Lenzites, Microporus, Neolentinus, Panus, Perenniporia, Phaeolus, Polyporus, Poria, Pycnoporus, Skeletocutis, Trametes, Trichaptum, Tyromyces, Xerotus.

World representation. 681 species; genera 71. Cosmopolitan.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Polyporales.

Comments. Relatively recent changes in family circumscriptions have rendered this one so structurally diverse that morphological diagnosis is difficult or impossible; cf. the above description and the accompanying illustrations.

Illustrations. • Polyporus brumalis, P. leptocephalus, P. squamosus, and Laetiporus sulphureus (LH). • Fomes fomentarius, Lenzites betulinus, Pycnoporus cinnabarinus, Trichaptum abietinum (LH). • Neolentinus, Panus, Phaeolus, Trametes gibbosa, T. hirsuta and T. versicolor (LH). • Laetiporus sulphureus, Polyporus tuberaster, Skeletocutis vulgaris (Berkeley). • Boletus edulis, B. luridus, and Pseudoboletus parasiticus (Berkeley). • Trametes versicolor (L.) Pilat (from Curtis, 1824).

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.’.