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
Leccinum - Synoptic Key 24/04/2018 A Details


From the 39 species recognized in the recent literature, current concepts have reduced the total to just 14, a dramatic reduction by any standards. Presented here is a revised synoptic key based on this work and Geoffrey’s own field observations with notes and descriptions explaining some of the more surprising synonymies and name changes. It is important to stress, as do Bakker and Noordeloos, that our knowledge is not now complete, but it is fair to say that the view of species which they present probably reflects what is ‘out there’ more accurately than any other to date.
Lactarius - Synoptic Key 24/04/2018 A Details


This is an excellent guide to the genus which can often identify the species correctly on a foray when only macro features can be used.
Identification of the larger fungi 24/04/2018 A Details


Hypoxylon Pt3 24/04/2018 A Details


Published in Field Mycology 9(3) This third and final article on Hypoxylon in Britain and Ireland deals with species having rounded, hemispherical or pustulate stromata [masses of tissue in or on which the fruitbodies or spores are produced]. These include many of the more familiar species which occur on birch, beech, oak and ash.
Hypoxylon Pt2 24/04/2018 A Details


Published in Field Mycology 9(2) This second article on Hypoxylon in Britain and Ireland …. deals with those species of Hypoxylon having effused or flattened fruiting bodies, and a real or perceived affinity to Hypoxylon rubiginosum.
Hypoxylon Pt1 24/04/2018 A Details


Published in Field Mycology 9(1) The taxonomy and understanding of fungi in the Xylariaceae and in particular within the genus Hypoxylon has seen a considerable number of changes in recent times, but these appear to have scarcely filtered through to the field mycologist. There are few sources in the popular literature which have adequately explained or illustrated these changes and none which encompasses them all…….This paper sets the scene by exploring recent changes in nomenclature in relation to literature sources commonly used by British field mycologists and includes a key to the species.
Galerina - Synoptic Key 24/04/2018 A Details


This key by David Savage, 2008 is intended as an alternative approach to fitting Galerina specimens to the descriptions in British Fungus Flora Vol. 7 (Watling & Gregory). Most of the species in BFF 7 are included in the key. No account has been made for any changes to species descriptions, limits, or names, made since the issue of BFF 7.
Dung Fungi 24/04/2018 B Details


Cup Fungi of Britain Pt4 24/04/2018 A Details


Cup Fungi of Britain Pt3 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.