Mushroom Spore Question

Pierre Roy roy.pierre at
Tue Feb 8 12:55:58 EST 1994

In article <2iu2hs$d1r at> cwisnia at (Cory M Wisnia) writes:
>From: cwisnia at (Cory M Wisnia)
>Subject: Mushroom Spore Question
>Date: 4 Feb 1994 10:01:32 -0800

>        My name is Andrea Williams I am 13 years old and in eighth grade. 
>I'm doing a project on mushrooms. I am mainly studying gilled mushrooms. 
>I know that mushrooms are fungi that grow in the rainy season. I know a 
>little more about mushrooms and their life cycle, but I do have a couple 
>of questions.
>* When are the spores released? 
>* How are spores on mushrooms different?
>* How do you tell the difference between types of spores?
>* What are the different shapes and names? 
>         I would really appreciate any helpful info. you could get back 
>to me!!!  I have been looking in books like "Mushrooms of American"  
>Audubon's " Field Guide to North American Mushrooms"  and "All that Rain 
>Promises and More",  but you don't understand the sections on how to tell 
>spore differences.   Thanks a lot !
>        Sincerely, 
>                Andrea Williams

>||   >>>/\__/\>>>>>>>>>><<<<<<<<<<<<      ||
>||     / \|/  \  CORY  WISNIA             ||                                  
>||     |(O)(O) | cwisnia at ||         
>||     \  ×   /  MENDOCINO   CA           ||

I'm an amateur mycologist but maybe I can help you.

1. The spores are released when they are mature. The releasing "mecanic" 
depend upon the mushroom group (ascomycetes, gasteromycetes,...). One good 
exemple is the puff ball (Lycoperdon, Calvatia,...).
2. The spores are characterised by their color (spore print), their reaction 
to some chemical (Melzer's solution,...), their length and width (in 
micron), their shape and the ornementations on the spores.
Unfortunately, there's no standarized vocabulary to describe the forms of 
the spores. A spore globulose for an author is spherical for another.
Look at the pictures in mycological guides; they illustrate well the form 
and ornementation of differents types of spores.

You must know that mushroom's spores are not arranged in official groups 
like the mushrooms (order, family, genus,...). The same spore form can 
occurs in two or three differents genus. Spore form is just one in many 
features we must look at to identify a mushroom specie.

Pierre Roy
roy.pierre at

More information about the Mycology mailing list