Keys for Macrofungi

Over the years the British Mycological Society and it members have published a large number of keys to fungi in its journals and occasionally in the publications of other societies. We felt that it would be useful to make them accessible to everyone by publishing them on the BMS website.

This is very much a work in progress and it is hoped to continue to add keys to the web page as time permits. If you would like to add a comment or have any suggestions or queries relating to this web page then please contact either Archie McAdam or Liz Holden through the BMS office at

Where the journal is not a BMS publication, permission to reproduce the keys involved has been obtained and full acknowledgement is given.

** See below for Category Notes **


The Keyword search matches files with the entered phrase in the title or the detailed description. The Advanced Search allow searching for the Author or Category.

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Title Date Posted Category
Agarics and Boleti - Key to Genus 24/04/2018 A Details


This is a guide for beginners who take seriously their desire to know how to identify agarics and boleti to genus. After the keys themselves there is an updated summary of the Agarics and Boleti section of Guide to the Literature for the Identification of British Basidiomycetes by Brand, Henrici and Leonard intended for beginners, but useful to all. Then an Index of Genera in 10 publications, including the booklet itself and the recent Funga Nordica. In addition to the main key to genera, Archie includes a key to Galerina which updates the problem key in British Fungus Flora Volume 7 and Derek Schafer's Simplified Key to Coprinus s.l. A comprehensive glossary of terms used in the booklet is included. This key is available as a book suitable to take on forays. The book is now (2011) in its second edition and can be purchased from Summerfield Books, 3 Phoenix Park, Skelton, Penrith, Cumbria, CA11 9SD, or by email, Tel +44(0)1768 484 909.
Armillaria 24/04/2018 C Details


Bulletin of the BMS 10:1 Spring 1976 Roy Watling recommends the Nordic Macromycete key for Armillaria
Clavaria - brown and black species 24/04/2018 A Details


Published in Field Mycology 8(2) this key on Clavaria concentrates on the brown and black species prompted by the discovery of not one but three rare species following a workshop in 2005
Clavaria - yellow species 24/04/2018 A Details


Published in Field Mycology 9 (4) ‘…we now have three yellow or yellowish Clavaria species in the British Isles, all of them unbranched (tubular or clubshaped) and distinctly pale or dull compared with the much commoner and brighter yellow Clavulinopsis species. As with the black and brown Clavaria species (Roberts, 2007), the literature on these species is scattered, so a brief key and descriptions follow.
Conocybe 24/04/2018 C Details


New Checklist of British Agarics and Boleti - Part III Notes on Genera and species in the list. Trans. Brit. mycol. Soc. 43 (2), 190-198. (1960).
Cortinarius - Myxacium 24/04/2018 A Details


Published in Field Mycology 10(2) ‘For the time being we follow Funga Nordica in recognising just four convenient (if unnatural) groupings: Cortinarius (including Dermocybe and Leprocybe p.p.), Myxacium, Phlegmacium and Telamonia. Phlegmacium and Myxacium are traditionally separated on the extent of viscosity: in Phlegmacium the pileus is usually viscid but the stipe dry and there is an arachnoid veil, while in Myxacium both the pileus and stipe are viscid with a glutinous veil……………… Keys to species of subgenus Myxacium are keys to species which include both those which have been recorded in Britain and those which might be expected to occur in suitable habitats.
Cortinarius I 24/04/2018 B Details


Cortinarius II 24/04/2018 B Details


Cup Fungi of Britain Pt1 24/04/2018 A Details


Cup Fungi of Britain Pt2 24/04/2018 A Details



Category A Keys

Category A Keys consists of keys that have been recently published in the journal Field Mycology and other recently published keys. Synoptic keys involving colour can now be downloaded and printed.

Category B Keys

Category B consists of keys that still offer useful information for the identification of species but need to be used alongside current checklists and more up to date keys.

Category C Keys

It is fully accepted that many of the older keys are now ‘out of date’ and should not be used for identification purposes. They can however, provide a useful service in allowing a better understanding of the species concept involved in some of the older species names recorded on the FRDBI. They can also provide an insight into the development of the taxonomic understanding of particular genera.