The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


~ Coprinaceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; ephemeral; clustered (mostly), or solitary (e.g., Psathyrella plicatilis); differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (the stipe usually white); small to medium sized (mostly), or large; 1–7(–8) cm across. The mature pileus convex, or parasol-shaped, or more or less flat or somewhat depressed. The top of the pileus conspicuously patterned with scales (brown on lighter, see especially Psathyrella caput-medusae), or not patterned with scales; cream or yellowish, or buff, or straw-coloured, or honey-coloured, or light brown, or dark brown. The pileipellis forming a continuous epithelium. The stipe bearing a ring but no volva, or with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium borne on gills (not deliquescent); not thickening. The hymenophore adnexed to decurrent (?). The hymenophoral trama not bilateral. The basidiospores ballistosporic; fuscous, or brown-black, or blue-black (or purplish brown or black); smooth; with 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.

Ecology. Saprophytic. Neither coprophilous nor particularly associated with decaying keratinous materials. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground, or on dead wood. Found in grassy places, in heathland, in broad-leaved woodland, in mixed woodland, in coniferous woodland, and in places modified by human activities.

British representation. About 105 species in Britain; Lacrymaria, Macrometrula, Parasola, Psathyrella.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Agaricales.

Comments. This family represents breaking of the Coprinaceae on the evidence of molecular studies (Redhead et al., 2001). The current (2006) BMS list presents only the genus Parasola under this family, while simultaneously referring the (about) 95 Psathyrella species to it as well. Psathyrella (but not Parasola continues to appear under Coprinaceae.

Illustrations. • Lacrymaria lacrymabunda, Parasola (2 species), Psathyrella (4 species). • Psathyrella (5 species) (LH). • Hypoloma fasciculare, with Coprinaceae and Bolbitiaceae (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.’.