The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles


L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz



Morphology. The fruit-bodies producing asci and ascospores; tuberous to globose (thick walled, solid, often ornamented, the asci forming in irregular, marbled veins separated by sterile strands, interascal tissue absent at least at maturity); small to large; 0.5–7(–9) cm across; foxy reddish-brown (Tuber rufum), or purplish brown to dark brown, or blackish; cleistothecial; tuberous or globose and subterranean, the asci and spores produced from an enclosed hymenium; stromata absent. The asci more or less globose; asci inoperculate; without obvious apical thickening; more or less thick walled (and indehiscent, usually with fewer than 8 spores). The walls of the asci not staining blue with iodine. The ascospores usually strongly ornamented; brown; simple; without appendages; without a mucilaginous sheath.

The hyphae without clamp connections. The hyphal walls lamellate, double layered, with both layers electron dense.

Ecology. Mycorrhizal. The fruit-bodies subterranean. Found in broad-leaved woodland.

British representation. 18 species in Britain (mostly in Tuber); Choiromyces, Tuber.

World representation. 87 species; genera 6. “Widespread”.

Classification. Ascomycota; Ascomycetes; Pezizomycetidae; Pezizales.

Comments. Tuber aestivum edible (but esteemed less than the mainland-European Truffle, T. melanosporum). ‘Operculate Discomycetes’.

Illustrations. • Tuber aestivum and Tuber rufum (LH). • Tuber aestivum (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.’.