The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


Including Gloeocystidiellaceae.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; persistent; differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter, or attached laterally and bracket-shaped (then the pileus often zoned), or flattened and more or less appressed to the substrate or encrusting, with the hymenium on the outside (then appressed or effused-reflexed; gloeoplerous hyphae present only in Gloeocystidiellaceae?); small to medium sized; 1–4 cm broad but wider, in the species illustrated. The hymenium with pegs or spinose (at least, tuberculate or warty), or smooth. Cystidia present; gloeocystidia, or skeletocystidia, or gloeocystidia and skeletocystidia. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores ballistosporic; hyaline; smooth; usually amyloid.

The hyphal walls lamellate, with a thin, electron-dense outer layer and a relatively thick, electron-transparent inner layer. The hyphae dimitic (usually, with skeletohyphidia), or trimitic (rarely). The generative hyphae not inflated.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae not xanthochroic.

Ecology. Saprophytic, or parasitic and saprophytic; on vascular plants (including S. purpureum, causing “silver leaf disease” of plum trees). The fruit-bodies borne on the ground, or on dead wood and on living wood (or on bark). Found in broad-leaved woodland, in mixed woodland, in coniferous woodland, and in places modified by human activities.

British representation. About 40 species in Britain; Aleurodiscus, Amylostereum, Boidinia, Conferticium, Gloeocystidiellum, Gloiothele, Laxitextum, Megalocystidium, Scytinostromella, Stereum, Vesiculomyces, Xylobolus.

World representation. 124 species; genera 22. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Russulales (formerly Stereales).

Illustrations. • Stereum hirsutum, Stereum rugosum and Stereum sanguinolentum (LH). • Stereum hirsutum (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.’.