Geoglossaceae is a family of fungi in the order Geoglossales, class Geoglossomycetes. These fungi are broadly known as earth tongues. The ascocarps of most species in the family Geoglossaceae are terrestrial and are generally small, dark in color, and club-shaped with a height of 2–8 cm. The ascospores are typically light-brown to dark-brown and are often multiseptate. Other species of fungi have been known to parasitize ascocarps.[1][2] The use of a compound microscope is needed for accurate identification.[3]


Geoglossum difforme

Geoglossum simile

Geoglossum sphagnophilum

Geoglossum cookeanum, G. glabrum

Geoglossum umbratile

Geoglossum nigritum

Geoglossum barlae

Trichoglossum (T. hirsutum, T. octopartitum

Glutinoglossum glutinosum

Glutinoglossum heptaseptatum

Sabuloglossum arenarium

Sarcoleotia globosa

Nothomitra cinnamomea

Cladogram showing phylogeny of Geoglossomycetes based on a four-gene dataset.[4]

The fungi that are now included in the fungal class Geoglossomycetes were previously considered by mycologists to be a family (Geoglossaceae) within the class Leotiomycetes. The family Geoglossaceae sensu lato was previously defined with 6 genera and 48 species.[5] Early molecular evidence using ribosomal DNA[6][7][8] suggested that Geoglossaceae sensu lato was not a monophyletic group, and that the hyaline spored genera (e.g. Leotia, Microglossum, and Spathularia) were not allied within the same clade as the darker-spored genera (Geoglossum and Trichoglossum). Schoch et al.,[9] using a six-gene phylogeny including ribosomal DNA and protein-coding genes, found support for the establishment of a new class (Geoglossomycetes), containing the genera Geoglossum, Sarcoleotia, and Trichoglossum. Further molecular research resulted in the addition of Nothomitra (previously treated as a relative or synonym of Microglossum) to the group in 2011.[10] Glutinoglossum was circumscribed in 2013 to contain the species formerly known as Geoglossum glutinosum, and a new European species, G. heptaseptatum.[4]


Earth tongues are commonly found in soil or among rotting vegetation.[11] In North America, they are commonly found in coniferous woodland, broad-leaved woodland and mixed woodland habitats,[12] whereas in Europe they are commonly found in grassland habitats[11][13] and are major components of the endangered waxcap grassland habitat.


  1. ^ Seeler EV. (1943). "Several Fungicolous Fungi". Farlowia: 119–133. 
  2. ^ Rossman AY, Samuels GJ, Rogerson CT, Lowen R. (1999). "Genera of Bionectriaceae, Hypocreaceae, and Nectriaceae (Hypocreales, Ascomycetes)". Studies in Mycology 42: 186. 
  3. ^ "Family: Geoglossaceae." The Hidden Forest. 26 Aug. 2009 <>.
  4. ^ a b Hustad VP, Miller AN, Dentinger BTM, Cannon PF. (2013). "Generic circumscriptions in Geoglossomycetes" (PDF). Persoonia 31: 101–11. doi:10.3767/003158513x671235.  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ Kirk PM, Cannon PF, Minter DW, Stalpers JA. (2008). Dictionary of the Fungi (10th ed.). Wallingford, UK: CAB International. p. 279. ISBN 978-0-85199-826-8. 
  6. ^ Pfister D, Kimbrough JW. (2000). "Discomycetes". In Mclaughlin DJ, McLaughlin EG, Lemke PA. (eds.). The Mycota VII Part A. Systematics and Evolution. Berlin: Springer. pp. 257–81. 
  7. ^ Wang Z, Binder M, Schoch CL, Johnston PR, Spatafora JW, Hibbett DS. (2006). "Evolution of helotialean fungi (Leotiomycetes, Pezizomycotina): A nucleear rDNA phylogeny.". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 41 (2): 295–312. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.05.031. PMID 16837216. 
  8. ^ Wang Z, Johnston PR, Takamatsu S, Spatafora JW, Hibbett DS. (2006). "Toward a phylogenetic classification of the Leotiomycetes based on rDNA data.". Mycologia 41: 1065–75. 
  9. ^ Schoch CL, Wang Z, Townsend JP, Spatafora JW. (2009). "Geoglossomycetes cl. nov., Geoglossales ord. nov. and taxa above class rank in the Ascomycota Tree of Life." (PDF). Persoonia 22: 129–36. doi:10.3767/003158509x461486. 
  10. ^ Hustad VP, Miller AN, Moingeon J-M, Priou J-P. (2011). "Inclusion of Nothomitra in Geoglossomycetes" (PDF). Mycosphere 2 (6): 646–54. doi:10.5943/mycosphere/2/6/5. 
  11. ^ a b L. Watson and M. J. Dallwitz (2009-06-20). "The Families of Mushrooms and Toadstools Represented in the British Isles". 
  12. ^ Mains EB. (1954). "North American species of Geoglossum and Trichoglossum". Mycologia 46: 586–631. 
  13. ^ Nannfeldt JA. (1942). "The Geoglossaceae of Sweden". Arkiv för Botanik 30A: 1–67. 
  • Cannon PF, Kirk, PM. (2007). Fungal families of the world. Wallingford, UK: CAB International. ISBN 0-85199-827-5. 
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Trichoglossum is a genus of fungi in the family Geoglossaceae. They are commonly called hairy earth tongues. The type species is Trichoglossum hirsutum.[1]

Members of the genus Trichoglossum have tiny hairs known as setae on the spore bearing surface. The related genus Geoglossum lacks hairs on the spore bearing surface.



The genus Trichoglossum was created by Émile Boudier,[2] who constructed the new genus to include species of Geoglossum bearing prominent setae. Numerous authors have examined this genus since its creation,[3][4][5] with many new species and varieties described. Index Fungorum currently lists 47 names, including forms and varieties, while Kirk et al. (2008)[6] acknowledge 19 species. Published molecular phylogenetic research also supports the genus as a well-supported clade.[7][8][9]


Trichoglossum species are found in woodlands in North America and Europe, as well as Asia,[4] Australasia,[10] India,[11] and South America.[12][13]

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