Main fungal groups

Morphogroups illustrated

1. Basidiomycota

Agarics – have gills and usually fleshy

Chanterelles – have shallow gill folds and are fleshy

Boletes and polypores – fleshy boletes and tough polypores both have tubes (opening by pores)

Tooth Fungi – have downward pointing teeth or spines and vary in texture from fleshy to leathery, with or without a cap

Leathers – are leathery in texture and the spore-bearing surface is smooth or only a little wrinkled

Corals – are fleshy with spores formed on the entire surface of the upper part of a club-like or coral-like fruit-body. The clubs usually grow upwards, but occasionally hang downwards

Jellies – have a jelly-like or gelatinous texture, and come in various shapes such as brain-like. Spores are formed on the outside surface of the fruit-body or on spines under a shelf-like cap. Colours are often bright orange or yellow, but also white.

Rusts – are parasites which grow only on living plants, forming tiny disc-shaped yellow or orange spore masses. They have a special stage in their life-cycle called the cluster cup (aecium) which is a shallowly to deeply cylindrical fruit-body with spores formed at the base of the interior of the cylinder.

Earthstars – have an outer layer to their spore sac that splits into rays and the spores are liberated through the mouth (stoma)

Stalked Puffballs – have a distinct stem supporting the head which contains the spore mass

Stinkhorns – are initially completely covered by a membrane colloquially called an egg. The egg breaks to reveal a fruit-body which is phallic, cage-like or with arms. The spore mass is slimy and often foul-smelling and covers the inner surface of the cage, arms, egg or head when the fruit-body is phallic. In phallic stinkhorns an indusium may hang from the head, like a lacy net.

2. Ascomycota

Beech Oranges – rounded orange fruit-bodies with large pits

Morels – honey-comb-like head on a stem

Cups – a common form of Ascomycota with spores formed on the inside surface of a shallow to deep cup which may have a stem

Clubs – are club-shaped with a stem not much narrower than the head. This group can look very similar to the corals but are not as fleshy as the corals.

Crusts – form thick, thin or lobed fruit-bodies which lie directly on the substrate

Discs – are disc-like with a flat upper surface which is where the spores are formed

Pins – have a pin-shaped fruit-body with a definite head and narrower stem

3.  Myxomycetes – plasmodial or acellular slime moulds

Myxomycetes belong to a different Kingdom from fungi but they are studied by mycologists, are covered by the same nomenclatural code and often appear together.

Ref. Where the slime mould creepsthe fascinating world of myxomycetes, Loyd, S (available in our shop here)

Dictyostelids – cellular slime moulds


Plasmodial slime moulds – appear on rotting logs, stumps or live vegetation during summer, first as moist, bright yellow amorphous blobs