The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz


‘Skin Fungi’.

Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing basidia and basidiospores; persistent; simple, or compound; clustered, or solitary; attached laterally and bracket-shaped to fan-shaped, or flattened and more or less appressed to the substrate or encrusting, with the hymenium on the outside, or branched (but mostly fan-shaped or resupinate); medium sized to large; 3–8 cm broad, in Thelephora palmata; 3–5(–6) cm high (in T. palmata); purplish brown (or violaceous brown), or dark brown, or blackish. The hymenium porose (very rarely), or with pegs or spinose to smooth (smooth to papillate, or toothed in stalked forms, rarely pseudo-lamellate). The basidia ‘unmodified’. The basidiospores globose to ellipsoid, often uneven in outline; ornamented; 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 not inflated.

Chemical reactions. The context hyphae not xanthochroic; releasing green pigment when treated with KOH (owing to presence of thelephoric acid; not cyanophilous).

Ecology. The fruit-bodies borne on the ground (humicolous), or on dead wood (less often). Found in grassy places, in heathland, in coniferous woodland, in broad-leaved woodland, and in mixed woodland.

British representation. About 65 species in Britain (mostly in Thelephora and Tomentella); Amaurodon, Hydnopsis, Pseudotomentella, Thelephora, Tomentella.

World representation. 80 species; genera 13. “Widespread”.

Classification. Basidiomycota; Basidiomycetes; Agaricomycetidae; Thelephorales.

Comments. Releasing a green pigment in alkali.

Illustrations. • Thelephora palmata and Thelephora terrestris (LH). • Thelephora anthocephala, and T. mollissima (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.’.