Roughly 8,500 of the 13,500 or so species of macroscopic fungi that are known to make mushrooms are gilled. These mushrooms are found in several Agaricomycetes orders. Beneath the cap, gilled mushrooms generate slender, slit-like tissues that release spores. Usually organised radially from the centre of the cap to the periphery, these tissues hang vertically. We refer to these gills as lamellae in mycological terminology. In comparison to a flat surface, the vertically organised arrangement of the gills provides for a 20-fold increase in surface area for spore formation. Thousands of mushroom species have adopted this spore-dispersal strategy due to its great success.
In this tutorial, we’ll cover six families of gill-producing mushrooms from the class Agaricomycete, giving you an insight into the enormous diversity of gilled mushrooms.
Continue reading to find out more!
1. Types of Gilled Mushrooms: Agaricaceae
There are roughly 1,300 species in the 85 genera that make up the fungal family Agaricaceae, most of which produce gills. Within this family includes Agaricus bisporus, sometimes known as button, cremini, and portobello mushrooms, which is one of the most widely grown mushrooms for commercial purposes. The majority of Agaricaceae species are saprobic, which means that they get their nourishment from decomposing organic materials. Logs, stumps, branches, twigs, leaf litter, manure, and grass thatch are the main components of this material.
This family of wild mushrooms is found mostly in the Northern Hemisphere’s temperate zones. They can be found by roadsides, pathways, meadows, and forests. The following are three instances of gilled mushrooms in the Agaricaceae family:
Agaricus campestris, or field mushroom. It is found in grassland temperate regions of Europe, Asia, North America, Australia, and New Zealand as a species complex.Lepiota cristata, the stinking dapperling. widely distributed over Europe, northern Asia, New Zealand, and North America (apart from Mexico) in grassy and woodland places.Hairstyle: shaggy (Coprinus comatus). found in grassy places in temperate parts of Australia, Asia, North America, North Africa, and continental Europe.
In the Amanitaceae family, mycologists have identified approximately 600 species of gilled mushrooms. According to some recent estimates, there are roughly 1,000 species in the planet. Because some species of this mushroom family contain amatoxins, it also includes some of the most lethal species for humans. Although four additional lesser genera currently belong to the Amanitaceae family, the majority of the species in this family are found inside the genus Amanita. At the moment, this family’s recognised genera are Myxoderma, Amanita, Catatrama, Limacellopsis, and Limaella. It’s interesting to note that while most species in this family are gilled, Australia is home to a tiny number of subterranean species that resemble truffles.
Most species in this family are mycorrhizal, which means that they get their nutrition from plants and fungus that are mutually beneficial to each other. The mycelium, or underground component of the fungus, receives sugar and carbon from the roots of plants. To supply the roots, the mycelium then scavenges the soil for vital plant nutrients like phosphate and nitrogen.
There is significant disagreement among mycologists, but some believe that Amanita is the largest genus of mushrooms. While some species have beautiful orange, yellow, and red colours, many other species have fruiting bodies that are white, olive-white, creamy-white, and/or greyish. Within the Amanitaceae family, gilled mushrooms include:
Destroying angel from Eastern North America (Amanita bisporigera). This all-white poison amanita is deadly to humans and can be found in hardwood woods in eastern North America that are predominately oak.
Amanita muscaria, or fly agaric. A gorgeously symmetrical red or orange-capped, white-spotted, hallucinogenic mushroom found in temperate and wooded areas of the Northern Hemisphere.
The Amanita caesareana, or Caesar’s mushroom. An esteemed edible amanita fungus with yellow, orange, and white colouring that is native to southern Europe and North Africa.
3. Types of Gilled Mushrooms: Cortinariaceae
There are an estimated 3,000 species in the gilled mushroom family, Cortinariaceae. It appears that some mycologists are now suggesting that they be divided into seven to 10 genera! This family is quite varied and can be found in arctic-alpine, tropical, and temperate climates. According to some scholars, the largest and most diverse family of gilled mushrooms is called Cortinariaceae. This family’s majority of species are mycorrhizal.
The presence of a partial veil, known as the cortina, that resembles a cobweb and is a distinctive feature of mushrooms belonging to the vast genus Cortinarius. A thin layer of membranous tissue covers and shields the gills of juvenile individuals, forming a partial veil.
The varied Cortinariaceae family has three types of gilled mushrooms, which include:
Webcap in violet (Cortinarius violaceus). Cortinarius violaceus, with its brightly violet fruiting body when young, is a delightful find in temperate hardwood or conifer woods across its natural habitat in the Northern Hemisphere.Webcap mushroom known as saffron (Cortinarius croceus). This yellow-gilled, saffron-capped mushroom grows in temperate to alpine-arctic forests in Europe and North America.A white webcap native to Australia (Cortinarius austroalbidus). The Australian white webcap coexists in mycorrhizal relationships with eucalyptus trees in temperate southern Australia’s eucalyptus forests.
While a tiny fraction of mushroom species in the Entolomataceae family produce tiny fruiting bodies shaped like cups, discs, or tubes, the majority of these species produce gills. This family has at least 1,500 species, divided into a number of genera that is still up for debate. This family’s largest genus, Enteroloma, is mostly composed of gilled mushrooms that have a salmon-pink spore print. Similar to the Cortinaceae family, the Entolomataceae family is found in tropical and arctic regions all over the world. Saprophytic species predominate.
Within this fungus family, three instances of gilled mushrooms are as follows:
Entoloma vernum, often known as “springtime entoloma,” bears fruit in conifer woods throughout the springtime in temperate regions of Europe and potentially North America.Entoloma eugenei: This rare and endangered species is found in temperate hardwood woods in East Asia and the Russian Far East. It is distinguished by its unusually vivid blue stipe, also known as the stem, and cap.Entoloma sequestratum: This species, which was first identified in 2020, is found in the moist tropical environments of northern Thailand.
5. Types of Gilled Mushrooms: Russalaceae
There are over 1,900 species of gilled mushrooms in the Russulaceae family, the majority of which are found in the biggest genus, Russula (brittlegills). A milky latex fluid is secreted from the gills of gilled mushrooms in the second largest genus, Lactarius, also known as milk-caps. In the wild, it can be challenging to identify Russula species down to the species level, and some can be challenging to differentiate even under a microscope.With species found in temperate and tropical parts of the Americas, Asia, Africa, Australasia, and Europe, Russulaceae is a family with a global range. The majority of species in this family are mycorrhizal, frequently coexisting with orchids, while some are parasitic or saprobic.
Three examples of gilled species in Russulaceae include:
Although its popular and scientific names imply that the sickener (Russula emetica) is harmful, some civilizations have historically and still consumed this fungus. A mushroom must be cooked or pickled properly to be tasty. This species can be found in temperate, wooded areas of Europe, Asia, and North Africa. There is significant disagreement about its presence in North America.Green-Blue CrackingRussula (Russula parvovirescens): Mostly found in hardwood forests east of the Rocky Mountains, Russula parvovirescens is a wonderful eating fungus.Milk cap indigo (Lactarius indigo): Lactarius indigo is an extremely rare and beautiful edible fungus with cap, stipe, and gills that are a striking indigo-blue colour. It bleeds blue latex as well! It is mostly found in Central America, East Asia, and Eastern North America.
6. Types of Gilled Mushrooms: Mycenaceae
The Mycenaceae family, which includes over 700 species spread over 10 genera, is known for its little, wacky gilled mushrooms. The majority of the illuminating species in this family of mushrooms, which makes up the macrofungi, are found in the Mycena genus. This family is saprobic, mostly found on decaying wood.The family Mycenaceae is found in temperate, tropical, and alpine-arctic regions of the world.
There are three varieties of gilled mushrooms in the Mycenaceae family:
Mycena pasvikensis: This modest but hardy small brown mushroom grows virtually only in northern Europe’s alpine-arctic zones.
One of the genus’ most well-known bioluminescent species, the green pepe (Mycena chlorophos), is remarkably translucent-white during the day and glows green at night. Subtropical areas of Polynesia, Australia, South America, and Asia are home to this species.
Orange mycena, or Mycena leaiana, is a brilliantly orange species that grows widely from the Great Plains eastward. It usually grows in large clusters and has wavy gills near the margin.