The Inocybaceae Website

Inocybaceae.org is a website jump-started in 2011 with support from the National Science Foundation. This site is dedicated to provide in-depth biological content online for the Inocybaceae, one of the largest families of mushroom-forming fungi in the Agaricales. Emphasis is placed on taxonomic content such as descriptions of species and higher-level taxa, images, and keys to facilitate identification of species and major inclusive groups. Inocybaceae.org also features a 'News' site where publications and comments about all-things-inocyboid are presented and a 'People' page for those who contribute to unearthing knowledge about the family. The website hosts a 'Phylogeny' page with discussion about evolutionary relationships in the family and access to a current, unpublished tree file. A link to a BLAST utility hosted at the University of Tennessee is provided for those interested in comparing ITS or nLSU-rRNA sequence data to our own (under Databases just select either the ITS or LSU db) for molecular identification. We also provide a glossary of important terms, a bibliography to the Inocybaceae systematic literature, and a Google search engine to search for species or terms within the site. Some of these features will be works in progress.

The Inocybaceae is a cosmopolitan family of c. 700 species worldwide and a monophyletic group (all species share a common ancestor). Newly described species continue to be discovered based on herbarium collections even from regions of the world where the Inocybaceae 'flora' is relatively well known. Species of Inocybaceae are of ecological importance because they form plant root associations known as mycorrhizas with as many as 19 different plant families in temperate and tropical regions in both the northern and southern hemispheres. The family is of medical importance since some species contain alkaloids such as muscarine (toxic but infrequently lethal) or psilocybin (an hallucinogen but rarely used deliberately). Identification of species is time-consuming because a careful microscopic analysis is often required, literature resources are scarce, and in some cases taxonomists have different interpretations for what a species represents. Here, we hope to simplify matters and encourage more interest in identification, discussion, and contribution to the general biology of inocyboid species. Because of the immense size of the family and funding mandates, our initial efforts will focus on Australian species, most of which have yet to be formally described in the scientific literature.

About the Inocybaceae

Species of Inocybaceae are typically united by a suite of features that, with some experience, a collector can rely upon to recognize species of the family in the field: small to moderate size, a fibrillose or scaly cap (pileus), presence of a stem (stipe), dull brown to yellowish brown gills (lamellae) with frosted (fimbriate) edges, dully colored fruit bodies overall of various shades of brown, growth on soil, distinctive odors (spermatic, like bruised Geranium leaves, fishy, or of green corn), and dull brown spore deposit. Species of Cortinarius are superficially similar and occur in similar habitats but differ most readily by their rusty colored gills at maturity and rusty brown spore deposit. The genus Hebeloma shares similar colored gills, spore deposit color, and similar habitats with Inocybaceae but differs principally by a lubricous to viscid cap, and many have an odor of radish when cut or another odor not found in the Inocybaceae. Indeed, fungal systematists of the 20th century predicted Cortinarius, Hebeloma, and Inocybe were closely allied, but much molecular phylogenetic research has strongly rejected this hypothesis. Because Inocybe and recently described new genera Auritella and Tubariomyces and novel clades Mallocybe, Pseudosperma, Nothocybe, and Inosperma form a unique alliance apart from Hebeloma and Cortinarius, they are presented here as a family in their own right.