Mushroom-forming fungi (Agaricomycetes, approx. syn.: Homobasidiomycetes) produce a diverse array of fruiting bodies, ranging from simple crust-like forms to complex, developmentally integrated forms, such as stinkhorns and veiled agarics. The 19th century Friesian system divided the mushroom-forming fungi according to macromorphology. The Friesian taxonomy has long been regarded as artificial, but it continues to influence the language of mycology and perceptions of fungal diversity. Throughout the 20th century, the phylogenetic significance of anatomical features was elucidated, and classifications that departed strongly from the Friesian system were proposed. However, the anatomical studies left many questions and controversies unresolved, due in part to the paucity of characters, as well as the general absence of explicit phylogenetic analyses. Problems in fruiting body evolution were among the first to be addressed when molecular characters became readily accessible in the late 1980s. Today, GenBank contains about 108,000 nucleotide sequences of 'homobasidiomycetes', filed under 7300 unique names. Analyses of these data are providing an increasingly detailed and robust view of the phylogeny and the distribution of different fruiting body forms across the 14 major clades that make up the agaricomycetes. However, it would be wrong to suggest that all the important questions about fruiting body evolution have been resolved. Recent studies focusing on resupinate forms suggest that there may still be undetected major clades of agaricomycetes, which could have a significant impact on our estimates of the ancestral forms in this morphologically diverse group. Modern approaches, including comparative phylogenetic analyses and developmental studies, have the potential to yield novel insights into both the macroevolutionary processes and cellular mechanisms of fungal morphological evolution.