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; ephemeral; clustered (mostly), or solitary; differentiated into a stipe and pileus with the hymenium underneath the latter (nearly always), or fan-shaped (and with the gills on top, in Stropharia squamosa); small to large; (0.5–)1–10(–12) cm across. The mature pileus convex, or parasol-shaped, or more or less flat or somewhat depressed. The fruit-bodies brightly pigmented to not brightly pigmented. The top of the pileus conspicuously patterned with scales, or not patterned with scales (often brown scales on lighter ground); white or whitish, or cream or yellowish to yellowish-brown, or reddish-brown, or light brown to dark brown, or olive, or yellow, or green. The pileipellis not forming continuous epithelium. The stipe bearing a ring but no volva, or with neither ring nor volva. The hymenium borne on gills; not thickening. The hymenophore adnexed to decurrent. The hymenophoral trama not bilateral. Cystidia present (often), or absent (?); commonly chrysocystidia. The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores ballistosporic; yellow-brown, or fuscous to blue-black; usually smooth; with a germ pore.

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. Parasitic, or saprophytic. Coprophilous (e.g., Deconica coprophila), or neither coprophilous nor particularly associated with decaying keratinous materials. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground, or on dead wood, or on living wood (with Pholiota destruens causing heart-rot). Found in grassy places, in broad-leaved woodland, in mixed woodland, in coniferous woodland, and in places modified by human activities.

British representation. Deconica, Flammula, Hypholoma, Kuehneromyces, Melanotus, Pholiota, Pleuroflammula, Psilocybe, Stropharia.

World representation. 328 species; genera 7.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Agaricales.

Comments. Some edible (and good: e.g., Kuehneromyces mutabilis). The pileipellis never epithelial.

Illustrations. • Stropharia aeruginosa, S. coronilla, S. hornemannii, S. semiglobata, S. squamosa (LH). • Hypholoma capnoides, H. fasciculare, H. lateritium, H. marginatum, H. rasicatum, H. udum (LH). • Kuehneromyces mutabilis, Pholiota aurivella, Ph. highlandensis, Ph. lucifera (LH). • Pholiota adiposa, Ph. alnicola, Ph. astragalina, Ph. lenta (LH). • Pholiota flammans, Ph. populnea, Ph. squarrosa, Psilocybe coprophila, P. montana, P. semilanceolata (LH). • Pholiota squarrosa: photo, A. Myers. • Kuehneromyces mutabilis and Pholiota jahnii (Berkeley). • Stropharia squamosa, with Agaricaceae and Cortinariaceae (Berkeley). • 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.’.