The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


‘Hard-skinned Puff-Balls’, ‘Earth-balls’.

Syn. Astraeaceae; ~ Gyroporaceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; angiocarpic; a globose or tuberiform gasterocarp (a dark interior, and a leathery outer skin which fractures irregularly at maturity; gleba with small locules and no real hymenium, finally powdery); medium sized to large; 4–10 cm across. Capilliteum absent. Gleba at first dark. The peridium dehiscent; opening irregularly. The basidia ‘unmodified’; maturing at different times. The basidiospores statismosporic; brown; ornamented (verrucose).

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

Ecology. The fruit-bodies not subterranean; borne on the ground. 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. 10 species in Britain; Astraeus, Pisolithus, Scleroderma.

World representation. 50 species; genera 7. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Agaricales.

Illustrations. • Scleroderma aurantium and Scleroderma verrucosum (LH). • Scleroderma citrinum (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.’.