This is the first ever comprehensive checklist of the Basidiomycota
of Great Britain and Ireland. It may seem surprising that such a
basic reference work should have to wait till the 21st
century before appearing, but until recently the task has seemed
overwhelming, given the large numbers of fungal taxa in the British
Isles and the small number of taxonomic mycologists.
Partial checklists of various groups of the Basidiomycota
have, however, previously been published and these earlier works
have provided a substantial basis for the preparation of the present
checklist. The largest and most important of these was the New
Check List of British Agarics and Boleti (NCL), published in
1960 by R.W.G. Dennis, P.D. Orton, and F.B. Hora. This provided
a critical listing of all the mushrooms, toadstools, and boletes
known to occur in the British Isles, clearing away much dead wood
and uncertain names, whilst describing many new taxa and providing
many new combinations. This revisionary work was itself an update
of an earlier checklist of agarics by Pearson & Dennis (1948),
which in turn was a radical overhaul of the list of agarics treated
by Carleton Rea in his British Basidiomycetae (1922). Rea’s
compilation, updating and extending that by Smith (1908), was a
major but uncritical descriptive catalogue of all the British hymenomycetes
(a term which excluded rusts, smuts, yeasts and hyphomycetes) recorded
up to that time. Important earlier compilations include those by
Berkeley (1860, extensively supplemented by Smith, 1891), Cooke
(1871, 1883–91), Massee (1892, 1893a,b), and Stevenson (1879,
More recently, several checklists or monographs of various groups
of basidiomycetes have been published. British hypogeous basidiomycetes
(the false truffles) were monographed by Pegler, Spooner & Young
(1993) and other gasteroid basidiomycetes by Pegler, Læssøe &
Spooner (1995). British stipitate hydnoid fungi and chanterelles
were monographed by Pegler, Roberts & Spooner (1997). A key
to British poroid fungi was published by Pegler (1973) and a list
of British aphyllophoroid fungi by Henrici & Cook (1991). A
preliminary list of British heterobasidioid fungi was published
by Henrici (1990). The British rust fungi, first monographed by
Plowright (1889) and later by Grove (1913), were covered in a modern
monograph by Wilson & Henderson (1966) with additions by Henderson
& Bennell (1979, 1980), and a more recent checklist by Henderson
(2000). Mordue & Ainsworth (1984) compiled an account of the
smut fungi, which revised the earlier monograph of the British smuts
by Ainsworth & Samson (1950).
In addition, compilations of the fungi of the Hebrides
(Dennis, 1986) and of South East England (Dennis, 1995) provided
comprehensive listings of the fungi known from these regions, the
former also including data on all known British fungal genera. Some
county mycotas, covering basidiomycetes as well as other groups
of fungi, have also been produced, providing details of local species
and important data on hosts and distribution. These include most
notably those for Yorkshire (resulting from the activities of the
Mycological Committee of the Yorkshire Naturalists’ Union) first
compiled by Massee & Crossland (1905), followed by an extended
catalogue by Mason & Grainger (1937), an update by Bramley (1985),
and a recent local list for the Scarborough District by Stephenson
(2004). Other published county and local mycotas include those of
Plowright (1872-73) for Norfolk, Clark (1980) for Warwickshire,
Dickson & Leonard (1996) for the New Forest, Bowen (2000) for
Dorset, Watling (1994) for Shetland, Watling et al. (1999)
for Orkney, and Aron (2005) for Northwest Wales (Merionethshire,
Caernarvonshire and Anglesey). Details of many additional regional,
county, and local lists can be found in Ainsworth & Waterhouse
The yeast fungi have tended to be studied quite separately,
and it is only with the advent of molecular sequencing that the
classification of yeasts has been satisfactorily linked to the classification
of filamentous fungi. From this we know that many yeasts are basidiomycetous
and should be included in the checklist. However, information on
the distribution of these yeasts within the British Isles has been
difficult or impossible to find, although the recent compilation
by Barnett et al. (2000) has been of value.
The present checklist is far more than a simple list of species
names. It collates data on over 3600 species or subspecific taxa
recorded from the British Isles, together with additional alien
and excluded taxa, plus synonyms. It attempts to include all names
which have appeared in British literature, a total of over 16,500
names. It has been compiled following an extensive survey of literature
references and herbarium collections, undertaken in consultation
with a number of specialists. The checklist makes no pretence of
being a revisionary work and includes no taxonomic novelties.
The list itself is derived from a database compiled at the Royal
Botanic Gardens, Kew since the year 2000. Though we have tried to
keep them to a minimum, errors and omissions are inevitable (corrections
will be welcomed – see below). New research, particularly in the
expanding field of molecular sequencing, will also entail the revision
of many current species and generic concepts. This checklist is
not, therefore, the ultimate guide to the naming of British basidiomycetous
fungi. Names are changing right at this moment and will continue
to change. But the checklist does attempt to list all the species
(and autonomous taxa) which are known to occur in the British Isles,
whatever the names they have been given now or in the past.
It is envisaged that this Internet version of the checklist will
be regularly updated (with a summary noting any major changes).
Corrections and additions should be e-mailed to firstname.lastname@example.org.
WHICH GROUPS OF FUNGI ARE INCLUDED?
The checklist includes entries for all known species within
the kingdom Fungi, phylum Basidiomycota, occurring
within the British Isles. More than 3100 recognized species and
subspecific taxa within the class Basidiomycetes are covered,
including the agarics (mushrooms and toadstools), the cyphelloid
fungi, the poroid or bracket fungi, the gasteroid fungi (including
puffballs, stinkhorns, and false truffles), the corticioid or patch-forming
fungi, the clavarioid or club and coral fungi, the hydnoid or toothed
fungi, and many (but not all) of the jelly fungi with their associated
yeasts. More than 340 taxa within the class Urediniomycetes
are covered, including the rust fungi, a few of the smut fungi,
and the remaining jelly fungi with their associated yeasts. Finally,
more than 150 taxa within the class Ustilaginomycetes are
covered, including the majority of the smut fungi, together with
a few other plant parasites and yeasts. Anamorphs (mainly basidiomycetous
yeasts and hyphomycetes) are included under their teleomorph names.
Where no teleomorph is known, the anamorph receives a separate entry.
checklist covers the whole of the British Isles, including the United
Kingdom, the Republic of Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Bailiwicks
of Guernsey and Jersey (Channel Islands). Inevitably herbarium collections
and published records are not evenly distributed throughout the
British Isles, and as a consequence some areas are substantially
under-recorded. This is particularly true of the Republic of Ireland
and Northern Ireland, though more recording is now being done here
than in the past.
CRITERIA FOR INCLUSION
The checklist aims to include at least some reference to all
species within the Basidiomycota that have ever been reported
to occur in the British Isles.
Full entries are given for taxa which are currently recognized
as distinct species and whose status as British is supported by
at least one herbarium collection. In most (but not all) cases these
herbarium collections are in the national collections at the Royal
Botanic Gardens, Kew, and/or the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
A few subspecific taxa, mainly at the level of ‘variety’,
have also received entries on the same basis. Subspecific taxa at
the often rather dubious level of ‘form’ are generally listed as
synonyms, if at all.
Two rather different categories of species are covered. Firstly
‘good’ species that have been claimed to be British, but for which
the evidence is lacking (absence of herbarium collections). Secondly,
and more numerously, doubtful species, formerly listed as British,
but now of uncertain application.
is no clear way to distinguish native British fungi from alien species.
We may assume that a species like the bolete Suillus grevillei,
though originally described from Scotland, is an alien species since
it is an exclusive ectomycorrhizal associate of larch, which is
an alien tree. But it is less clear (for example) that all the ectomycorrhizal
associates of pine, which in the British Isles is only native in
Scotland, are alien when found outside Scotland. The distinction
is even less clear when considering fungi forming non-specific ectomycorrhizal
and saprotrophic associations.
Accordingly, the checklist makes an arbitrary but clear-cut definition
of ‘alien fungi’ as those species which have only ever been reported
in the British Isles in an indoor environment, i.e. in hothouses,
greenhouses, and other buildings. A few rusts recorded once or twice
on exotic garden plants have also been considered aliens, where
the records suggest they have not become established in the British
SOURCES OF INFORMATION
of the information contained in the checklist has been obtained
from the British collections of fungi held in the mycological herbarium
at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew. These amount to some 250,000
collections from all parts of the British Isles, approximately 100,000
of which belong within the Basidiomycota. Substantial additional
information has been obtained from the British collections at the
Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
Records in the British Mycological Society’s Fungal Records Database
(BMSFRD) have been examined and have proved valuable for distribution
and frequency data (see below). Much of the literature on the British
Basidiomycota, both early and recent, has also been examined
(see references and literature list below) and many experts in particular
groups have been consulted (see acknowledgements below).
accepted genus within the British Basidiomycota receives
an entry, giving:
1) the genus name, with full publication details (author(s),
date, and place of publication);
2) the order and family in which it is placed in the 8th
Edition of the Dictionary of the Fungi
(Hawksworth et al., 1995). This classification is cited
rather than that of the 9th Edition (Kirk et al.,
2001) which partially incorporates recent revisions based on molecular
data. The molecular picture is as yet too fluid and with too many
gaps to form a satisfactory basis for a detailed classification;
3) synonyms (used in the British Isles), with full publication
4) the type species of the accepted genus.
accepted species (and some subspecific taxa) receives an entry,
1) the species name, with full publication details (author(s), date,
and place of publication);
2) synonyms (used in the British Isles), with full publication details;
3) misapplied names, where widely used;
4) data on habitat, seasonality, and associated species (see below);
5) distribution and frequency data (see below);
6) abbreviated references to relevant descriptions (D) and illustrations
7) any additional notes.
AUTHOR CITATIONS & PUBLICATION
effort has been made to find the correct author citation and publication
details for all taxa in the checklist. This is particularly difficult
for older taxa, following the change in the starting point date
for fungal nomenclature introduced at the 13th International
Botanical Congress in 1981. Previously, the starting point for hymenomycete
nomenclature was 1821 (publication date of the first volume of Fries’
Systema mycologicum), and for gasteromycetes and rusts 1801
(publication date of Persoon’s Synopsis methodica fungorum).
Earlier names were devalidated unless used after the starting point
dates, in which case they were credited to the first author to refer
back to them. This system was considered unsatisfactory a) because
the names of lichenised fungi already started with Linnaeus in 1753,
and b) because priority and pre-eminence were inevitably given to
any obscure or minor work found to have been the first after the
starting point dates to use a devalidated name. Under this system,
for example, J.F.B. de St-Amans’ little-known Flore agenaise
(St-Amans, 1821) became one of the most frequently cited mycological
works, a reputation it hardly deserved.
Following the 1981 Congress, the starting point date for fungi was
put back to 1753 (the date of Linnaeus’s Species Plantarum)
in line with plant and lichen names, except that taxa accepted by
Fries (1821, 1822-1823, 1828, & 1829-1832) and Persoon (1801)
were ‘sanctioned’ and could not be replaced by earlier names. More
than twenty years after this rule change, the ramifications are
still requiring research. Unfamiliar old epithets have been validly
resurrected, and a host of author citations and literature references
have had to be rechecked. To achieve this, the original literature
has been substantially re-examined, facilitated by the extensive
mycological library at the Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew.
Following the lead of The British Ascomycotina: An Annotated
Checklist (Cannon et al., 1985), the sanctioning author
has not been included in citations, except in a few cases to clarify
the placement of earlier names which are given as synonyms. Thus
Tubaria furfuracea appears as (Pers.) Gillet rather than
(Pers.: Fr.) Gillet. A full list of sanctioned epithets was published
by Gams (1984).
SYNONYMS & MISAPPLIED NAMES
checklist gives full author and publication details for all homotypic
and taxonomic synonyms known to have been used in the literature
on the British Basidiomycota, including some standard continental
monographs and field guides. Ideally, taxonomic synonyms would have
been credited to the researcher who first published the synonymy
(thus answering the question ‘Who says it is a synonym?’), but it
has not proved feasible to undertake this major additional level
of research. Synonyms have thus been accepted in good faith, with
comments sometimes added in the notes field if the synonymy is known
to be disputed or contentious. Misapplied names are given after
HABITAT & ASSOCIATIONS
Data on habitat (e.g. marshes, dunes, conifer woodland) and
associations (e.g. on dead herbaceous stems, with Salix and
Populus spp) have generally been compiled at first hand from
notes accompanying collections and records, rather than being copied
from the existing literature. In some cases this has revealed interesting
differences between data from the British Isles and data from continental
Europe. In other cases, it may suggest that collections and records
have been misdetermined (and these instances are usually noted).
Associated organisms (the majority of which are tree and
shrub species) are given with their Latin names. To save space,
familiar native and planted species are referred to by genus only
when there is only one main species in the British Isles (thus native
beech, Fagus sylvatica, is referred to as ‘Fagus’;
native holly, Ilex aquifolium, is referred to as ‘Ilex’;
and so on).
DISTRIBUTION AND FREQUENCY
entry for each accepted taxon includes basic data on distribution
within the British Isles, giving its reported presence within the
constituent countries, i.e. England (E), Scotland (S), Wales (W),
Northern Ireland (NI), and the Republic of Ireland (ROI). Records
from the Channel Islands and the Isle of Man are noted separately
under (O). For each of these, frequency is indicated as follows:
(o) occasional (or infrequently reported)
(r) rare (or rarely reported)
(!) present, but frequency unknown
(?) reported, but the report is doubtful
Since so little is yet known about the distribution of fungi,
the categories assigned should be taken as no more than a rough
indication of frequency based on available records. In fact, apart
from a few species which are visibly common, all taxa in the checklist
could easily have been marked ‘data deficient’. The problem lies
in the paucity of fungal recorders (compared to the numbers of people
recording birds or plants), the lack of specialists in many difficult
or obscure groups, and the lack of knowledge of fruiting patterns
for the majority of fungal species. It is not yet possible to tell,
for example, whether a ‘rare’ fungus is genuinely rare, or whether
it only produces fruitbodies rarely. Similarly, it is not clear
whether a species not seen in the British Isles for many years (e.g.
Gomphus clavatus) is genuinely ‘extinct’ (accordingly, all
such species are included in the checklist). Additional information
may be given in the notes field.
This internet version of the checklist also contains the
herbarium accession number of a voucher collection (where one exists)
from each of the constituent parts of the British Isles in which
a given taxon has been recorded. This enables anyone interested
in following up a report of a taxon in a particular country to check
a specific collection (most of which are held at Edinburgh or Kew).
For reasons of space, these details were not included in the printed
For most but not all taxa, abbreviated references are given
to relevant descriptions (D) and illustrations (I) (see Bibliography
for abbreviations). In the main, the references have been selected
from standard works, both British and overseas, currently used for
identifying British fungi. Some classic British illustrative works
have also been included, together with selected illustrations from
recent journals. References to the type description (already given
in the publication details for each taxon) are not repeated.
These references are clearly neither comprehensive nor
complete, nor should the descriptions and illustrations necessarily
be taken as ‘recommended’ (though most have been checked). They
are included simply as a helpful starting point to discover more
about the taxon listed.
The additional notes field has been used for a wide range
of brief comments, on the status of a given taxon (especially if
uncertain or poorly known in the British Isles), on its distribution
(with vice-counties often listed where limited), on collection dates,
and so on. In some cases, notes are given on similar taxa or on
recognition points. English names are also given, but only where
these are familiar and of long usage.
OF CONSERVATION CONCERN
The checklist database has provision for recording the Red
Data List status of rare and vulnerable British species and others
of conservation concern. These data were omitted from the printed
Checklist for space reasons but are included in the web version.
The status of these species as currently given is based on the provisional
red list (Ing 1992), and existing Biodiversity Action Plan taxa
(with link to the Plan). These lists are both currently under revision
and will be incorporated into the Checklist when they have been
& LATIN TERMS
Abbreviations of author names follow Brummitt & Powell
(1992; amended version on the web). Abbreviations of publications
follow Bridson (2004) (journals) and Stafleu & Cowan (1976-88)
(books) as far as possible; when not included in these works, they
are given in full. Abbreviated literature references, mainly found
in the descriptions and illustrations section, are given in the
Combination, as in comb. illegit., comb. inval.
(see nom. illegit., etc. below).
forma (a taxonomic rank below variety).
On the authority of.
Herb. Herbarium. Herb. K is the herbarium of the Royal Botanic
Gardens, Kew; herb. E the herbarium of the Royal Botanic Garden, Edinburgh.
litt. In correspondence (i.e. not published).
conf. Nomen confusum. A name with various conflicting interpretations.
cons. Nomen conservandum. A name specifically
conserved by a ruling of the International Code of Botanical
Nomenclature (Greuter et al., 2000), usually against a competing
name which might otherwise have priority.
dub. Nomen dubium. A name of uncertain application. Typically
there is no type specimen and the original
description is inadequate.
illegit. Nomen illegitimum. A name that is
validly published, but contravenes certain articles of the
Code. Typically it is a later homonym of an earlier validly published
name or a superfluous name.
inval. Nomen invalidum. A name that is
not validly published under the Code.
nov. Nomen novum. A new name replacing an existing illegitimate
nud. Nomen nudum. A name published without
description and thus invalid under the Code.
rej. Nomen rejiciendum. A name specifically
rejected by a ruling of the the Code (usually in favour of a better-known
superfl. Nomen superfluum. A superfluous
name, i.e. one with an earlier valid name
included by its author as a synonym.
p.p. pro parte. In part.
Pers. comm. Personal communication.
Sensu In the sense of (as interpeted by).
Sensu auct. In the sense of (as interpeted by) various authors,
but not in the original sense.
Sensu lato In a broad sense.
Sensu stricto In a narrow sense.
sp. species (singular)
spp species (plural)
subsp. subspecies (a taxonomic rank below species).
var. variety (a taxonomic rank below subspecies).