The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Syn. Aleuriaceae, Humariaceae, Otidiaceae.

Anamorphic forms occurring (these hyphomycetaceous).

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing asci and ascospores; persistent; discoid, or cupulate, or cushion-shaped, or pear-shaped; clustered, or solitary; shortly stipitate, or sessile; discrete to coalescing; tiny to medium sized (mostly), or large; 0.5–6(–12) cm across; brightly pigmented (often), or not brightly pigmented; buff to yellowish-brown, or light brown, or reddish-brown, or orange, or yellow, or blackish; apothecial, or cleistothecial; comprising a perithecioid structure enclosing asci and spores (and paraphyses), with no stroma; brightly pigmented with carotenoids (often), or without carotenoid pigmentation; stromata absent (but the ascomata on a well developed hyphal mat). The asci cylindrical; asci operculate; without obvious apical thickening (with complex apical pores); thin walled. The walls of the asci not staining blue with iodine. The ascospores usually ellipsoid; smooth, or ornamented; hyaline, or brown; simple; uninucleate; without a mucilaginous sheath.

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

Ecology. Saprophytic, or mycorrhizal. Coprophilous (e.g., Fimaria hepatica on rabbit dung), or neither coprophilous nor particularly associated with decaying keratinous materials. The fruit-bodies subterranean (in a few species only), or not subterranean; when epigeal, borne on the ground, or on dead wood. Found often on soil or rotten wood; Aleuria aurantia on bare gravels, also paths, lawns and bare soil in woods.

British representation. About 110 species in Britain; Acervus, Aleuria, Anthracobia, Boubovia, Byssonectria, Cheilymenia, Ciliaria, Coprobia, Fimaria, Genea, Geopora, Geopyxis, Humaria, Inermisia, Jafneadelphus, Kotlabaea, Lamprospora, Leucoscypha, Marcelleina, Melastiza, Miladina, Neottiella, Octospora, Octosporella, Otidea, Oviascoma, Parascutellinia, Paurocotylis, Phaedropezia, Pseudombrophila, Psilopezia, Pulvinula, Pustularia, Pyronema, Ramsbottomia, Rhodotarzetta, Scutellinia, Sepultaria, Sowerbyella, Sphaerosoma, Sphaerospora, Sphaerosporella, Spooneromyces, Stephensia, Svrcekomyces, Tarzetta, Tricharina, Trichophaea, Trichophaeopsis.

World representation. 462 species; genera 68. Cosmopolitan.

Classification. Ascomycota; Ascomycetes; Pezizomycetidae; Pezizales.

Comments. ‘Operculate Discomycetes’.

Illustrations. • Aleuria, Humaria, Neottiella, Otidea, Scutellinia, Sowerbyella, Tarzetta (LH). • Fimaria hepatica (Berkeley). • Aleuria aurantia (Pers.) Peck (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.’.