The family Strophariaceae (notably the genera Pholiota, Psilocybe, Hebeloma, Galerina, Gymnopilus, Agrocybe and Stropharia genera) are brownish-gilled mushrooms with many characteristics similar to those of the Cortinariaceae.
Another group with some Cortinarius-like characteristics, and containing the Bolbitius and Conocybe genera, is also included on this website under its family name Bolbitiaceae.
The family Strophariaceae comprises some 15 families and contains 160 or so species in Europe; they all have brown or dark brown spores. The main genera that you are likely to encounter regularly are Hypholoma, Pholiota, Psilocybe and Stropharia. With very few exceptions the fungi of this family are inedible and some are poisonous or at least hallucinogenic - notably Psilocybe semilanceata, one of the so-called Magic Mushrooms. When young, many of the fungi in this family have cortinas - cobweb-like veils covering the immature gills.
The position of Panaeolus and Panaeolina species within the Agaricales is not yet settled; I have placed them with the Bolbitiaceae, although some authorities place them in Strophariaceae or in Psathyrellaceae (and they were in the past grouped with the inkcaps in Coprinus!).
For more information about fungi in the family Strophariaceae and a deeper insight into the ecology and structure of species featured in our Strophariaceae Gallery pages, please see Pat O'Reilly's latest book Fascinated by Fungi.
Fascinated by Fungi. Back by popular demand, Pat O'Reilly's best-selling 450-page hardback book is available now. The latest second edition was republished with a sparkling new cover design in September 2022 by Coch-y-Bonddu Books. Full details and copies are available from the publisher's online bookshop...