The Inocybaceae family was created by Jülich in 1981. It includes around 700 described species worldwide and is monophyletic. All are derived from a common ancestor. Inocybes can be recognized to genus by a set of characteristics that differentiate them from other mushrooms. They are typically small to moderate in terms of size; they have a scaly or fibrillose cap; a stem; gills that are medium dull brown to yellow-brown with fimbriate edge; a dull bown spore print; fruiting bodies that are mostly some shade of brown (although there are exceptions); and they are a terrestrial in growth. They are also mycorrhizal with the roots of trees. Many emit particular odors: spermatic, green corn, fishy smells, and so on. Some contain toxic alkaloids, and are therefore not recommended for eating. 

When it comes to identifying Inocybes to species by morphological characteristics only, that is a lot more challenging. If you are really interested in learning to identify Inocybes to species, you will have to at least use a microscope to examine the flesh and spores of your finds. 

To see enlarged versions of each photo represented in this family, click on the first photo and then click on the textual links above each photo to get to the next one.