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Natural Perspective

The Fungus Kingdom: Order Agaricales

(Last modified: 15 July 1997)

Agaricales are your stereotypical mushroom -- an umbrella-like cap with gills on the underside radiating from a centrally positioned stalk. While some members vary slightly from this formula (for example the Boletes have pores instead of gills underneath the cap) the Agaricales stereotype is so strong that people often exclaim "That's a mushroom?!" when shown members of just about any other mushroom order.

The following represent but a few families in the order Agaricales:

L-R: The Amanita Family (Amanitaceae) includes some of our prettiest as well as deadliest mushrooms. The Agaricus Family(Agaricaceae) is best known for its supermarket varieties. The Russula Family (Russulaceae) includes mushrooms which "bleed" when cut (Golden Milk Cap -- Lactarius alnicola).
[icon amanitas] [icon agaricus] [icon lactarius]

The Tricholoma Family (Tricholomataceae) is quite large and varied. Genera in this family include (L-R): Lacarria (Amethyst Laccaria -- Laccaria amethysteo-occidentalis), Omphalotus (Western Jack-O-Lantern -- Omphalotus olivascens), and Lentinus (Train Wrecker -- Lentinus lepideus)
[icon laccaria] [icon omphalotus] [icon lentinus]

L-R: Gomphidius Family (Gomphidiaceae) members are usually covered with goo (Gomphidius oregonensis). Coprinus Family (Coprinaceae) members digest themselves into an inky mess (Shaggy Mane -- Coprinus comatus). Waxy Cap Family (Hygrophoracea) members make up for their small size with brilliant displays of color (Scarlet Waxy Cap Hygrocybe punicea).
[icon gomphidius] [icon coprinus] [icon waxy cap]

And, of course, the aforementioned Bolete Family (Boletaceae). Here is a King Bolete (Porcini, Cepes, Boletus edulis) held by the author.

[icon boletus]

As you can see, even though the Agaricales all follow the same general form, they still come in an impressive variety of shapes, colors, sizes, and habitats.

Phylum: Basidiomycota (spores produced on basidia)
Class: Homobasidiomycetae (substantial mushrooms)
Subclass: Hymenomycetes (release spores gradually)
Order: Agaricales (umbrella-like mushrooms)
Families: various
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