The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; persistent; compound; sparassidioid (more or less globose, 25–35 cm across and multiply rosetted with pale yellowish tan, flattened and lobed branches); branched (large, much-branched and cauliflower-like, the numerous branches horizontal and much flattened, with inflated context hyhae); large to very large; 25–35 cm across; yellowish-brown, or light brown. The hymenial layer not readily separable from the supporting flesh. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores ballistosporic; hyaline to white, or cream (giving a cream spore print); smooth; inamyloid.

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.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae negative to ferric chloride.

Ecology. Saprophytic. The fruit-bodies on dead wood.

British representation. 2 species in Britain; Sparassis.

World representation. 7 species; genera 3. Widespread north temperate.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Polyporales.

Comments. Sparassis crispa edible.

Illustrations. • Sparassis crispa (LH).

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.’.