Fungi of the Outer Hebrides

Commonly considered to be members of the plant kingdom, fungi and lichens belong to a separate kingdom. Fungal systematics is complex and changing rapidly as information from DNA frequently leads to classification changes. There are three major groups commonly encountered by the amateur mycologist: Ascomycetes, which include the cup-fungi, most of the lichens, yeasts and moulds; Basidomycetes which include the mushrooms, brackets, puffballs, rusts, smuts and jelly fungi; and Zygomycetes, which include the pin moulds and some of the dung fungi.

The slime moulds belong to the phylum Myxomycota, which is part of the fourth kingdom Protista. They have been included in this section for convenience. Lichens will eventually be included in this site, but at present they remain in the Hebridensis website.

Relatively little is known about the fungi of the Outer Hebrides and most records have been generated by specialists on short visits to the islands, particularly to St Kilda. The most comprehensive work is a summary of the collections made over a thirty year period by RWG Dennis (Fungi of the Hebrides, 1986).

We began to have a serious look at fungi in the autumn of 2010 and so far have photographed and identified over 390 species. This site is an inventory of the species we have recorded and contains photographs taken in the field together with images of their microscopic structure. Information on their distribution is available via the National Biodiversity Network Gateway.

The accounts of individual species can be accessed through the A-Z indices of common or scientific names or by using the search facility.