Sunday, 11 May 2014


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Fungi are classified in the same way as plants.  Species of a similar structure are placed within the genera, the similar genera within families and similar families within orders listed below:

  • Chanterelles (Cantharellales)
  • True mushroom and toadstools (Agaricales)
  • Brown gilled mushrooms (Cortinariales)
  • Brittle gills and milk caps (Russulales)
  • Bolete and relatives (Boletales)
  • Club fungi and tooth fungi (Clavariales and Hericiales)
  • Bracket fungi (Poriales, Hymenochaetales, Stereales, and Thelephorales)
  • Puffballs, stinkhorns and relatives ( Gasteromycetes)
  • Jelly fungi (Heterobasidiomycetes)
  • Cup fungi and flask fungi (Ascomycetes)

Key to Orders

This simple key provides a guide to groups of species.  It is made as simple as possible so it does not necessarily take into account all the exceptions to the rules but is a useful first point of reference.

Read the description in the first numbered statement to see if it describes your fungus.  If it does not then read the second statement with the same number as this will include all the other fungi left at this stage and direct you to the next numbered statement in red.  Keep moving through the statements as directed until you reach your correct group.  

1. Fruitbody mushroom-like, mostly soft fleshy, with radiating gills on underside of the cap: 2
1. Fruitbody mostly lacking gills or, if present, they are slimy when squashed: 5

2. Gills either very reduced and interconnected or thick and fleshy with a blunt edge: Chanterelles 
2. Gills well developed, with an acute edge: 3

3. Fruitbody large, with thick yet brittle flesh, which readily crumbles; often with a brightly coloured cap or releasing a milky liquid when broken open: Brittle Gills and Milk Caps
3.  Fruitbody variable in size but with flesh that is fibrous rather than crumbly; no milk released: 4

4. Gills and spore deposits deep brown at maturity and usually covered by either a cobweb-like or membranous veil in the early stages; mostly growing on the ground in woodland: Brown gilled mushrooms.
4. Gills and spore deposits whitish, pink, yellowish brown, purplish brown or black; stem with or without a membranous ring; growing either in a woodland on trees or on the ground or outside woodland: True mushrooms and Toadstools.

5. Underside of cap bearing many narrow, vertical tubes, which open by pores, or remaining smooth to irregularly ridged: 6
5.  No tubes or pores on underside of cap: 7

6. Fruitbody soft and fleshy, borne on a central stem; usually growing on the ground: Boletes and relatives.
6. Fruitbody mostly tough and dry, only occasionally with a stem; growing on woody substrates: Bracket fungi

7. Fruitbody jelly-like, either brightly coloured or black; always growing on wood: Jelly fungi.
7. Fruitbody not jelly like but rather brittle, papery or tough: 8

8. Fruitbody either club shaped and brightly coloured (not black), coral shaped, or bearing vertical, pointed spines on the underside of the cap: Club fungi and Tooth fungi.
8. Spore producing area found either on the upper surface  of the fruitbody or internally: 9

9. Fruitbody either splitting open when ripe to release large numbers  of dusty spores, or expanding with a net like structure, or breaking open to expose an unpleasant  smelling stalk: Puff balls, stinkhorns and relatives.
9. Fruitbody either cup shaped, often brightly coloured and brittle, and producing spores on the upper surface of a cup, or with  a highly ridged cap, or club shaped and black, or producing spores internally and releasing them through minute  pores over the surface: Cup fungi and flask fungi.

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