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Species ID: Buckyball-like fungus

Species ID: Buckyball-like fungus


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Previous research

  • A friend of mine shared a link of some beautiful fungi: http://imgur.com/a/Dii3H. I was intrigued by the curious critter below -- it seems to have honed the power of buckyball geometry, presumably much before we Humans ever did (search: Buckminsterfullerene to learn about a feat of chemical engineering).

  • Google reverse-image search almost got me the answer I needed, but no species name.

  • I've asked friends on Facebook with no answers yet.


Question

What is the name of this species of fungus?


Related Questions on Stack Biology

  • Here's a related Species Identification question of a fungus: Puffball mushroom species ID? (by @rg255)

EDIT: I'm an idiot… the Imgur had species names, thus answering my question, post-mortem. Thanks @skymningen for pointing that out.


Looks very similar to Clathrus ruber fungus.

Be careful, it is poisonous.


Microscopes and the Amateur Mycologist - a Beginner's Guide

The information below is a summarized extract from Pat O'Reilly's latest book, 'Fascinated by Fungi'. For full details and sample pages see our Bookshop, where you can order an author-signed copy online. (The book also contains a glossary of mycological terms, and we have a summarised version here to help beginners. )


Chytrid Fungus

The Situation: Upwards of 40% of amphibian species are in decline worldwide, owing to several factors such as habitat loss, environmental degradation, pollutants, and disease. Recently the fungal pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis has emerged as a major threat to amphibians. Amphibians infected with B. dendrobatidis develop chytridiomycosis, which eventually causes death in susceptible species. The first documented outbreaks of chytrid fungus occurred in the late 1990s simultaneously in Australia and Central America. Since then the pathogen has been detected in over 100 amphibian species and has been associated with severe population declines or extinctions in several regions throughout the world. A great deal is still unknown about the biology of this pathogen, therefore it remains an active area of research for disease ecologists and conservation biologists.

Damage: B. dendrobatidis is an external pathogen that attaches to keratinized portions of amphibians, including the mouthparts of tadpoles and the skin of adults. The fungus reproduces via sporangia, and may be spread by movement of flagellated zoospores, direct contact between hosts, or between host stages. Growth of the fungus leads to degradation of the keratin layer, which eventually causes sloughing of skin, lethargy, weight loss, and potentially death. The physiological mechanism for chytrid-induced mortality is not known, but it appears to stem from disruption of skin function - such as fluid transport or gas exchange.

The chytrid fungus is known to infect over 100 species, but susceptibility to disease is highly life stage and species specific. For example, in mountain yellow legged frog (Rana muscosa) tadpoles suffer generally mild sublethal effects, with most mortality occurring at metamorphosis when there is a rapid production of newly keratinized skin tissue. Conversely, several other amphibian species appear to be relatively tolerant to B. dendrobatidis - including some widespread exotic or invasive species, such as the marine toad (Bufo marinus), American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana), and African clawed frog (Xenopus laevis)).

At the population level, chytrid fungus outbreaks have been associated with local and possible species extinctions in Australia, Central America, and the United States. For example, in 2004 chytrid fungus prevalence in parts of Panama increased from 0 to nearly 60% over approximately 4 months, with concomitant declines in amphibian density and diversity of over 80% and 60%, respectively. B. dendrobatidis is thought to thrive in cool, moist habitats. This has been used to argue that cooling trends observed in parts of Central America are driving chytrid-induced amphibian extinctions in these regions.

Distribution: One explanation for the recent emergence of chytridiomycosis in amphibians, the "novel pathogen hypothesis", is that B. dendrobatidis existed historically as a locally distributed pathogen that only recently was spread to new regions. Alternatively, the "endemic pathogen hypothesis" posits that the chytrid fungus was historically widespread but that recent environmental change (e.g., climate change, pollutants, habitat degradation) altered its pathogenicity. The relative importance of these two mechanisms is currently a source of debate. Low genetic diversity among geographically distant B. dendrobatidis strains is consistent with the first hypothesis, but synchronicity of chytrid fungus outbreaks in disparate, intact habitats supports the latter hypothesis.

The first described outbreaks of chytrid fungus occurred in 1998 in both Australia and Central America. Since then B. dendrobatidisinfections have been documented throughout the Americas, including Mexico and the U.S., Europe, and most recently in Southeast Asia.

The oldest known chytrid fungus infections are from museum specimens of African clawed frogs (Xenopus laevis) collected in 1938. These specimens have been used to argue for an African origin for B. dendrobatidis. It is believed that the chytrid was then spread to other continents in the 1960s and 70s through commercial trade of these African frogs.

Research: The link between chytridiomycosis and amphibian decline is an active area of research worldwide. The genome of B. dendrobatidis has been sequenced, which should prove useful for identifying the origin, mechanisms of virulence, and potential control methods for this pathogen. University of California researchers have been studying this pathogen for several years, especially the impacts of chytrid fungus on populations of the mountain yellow legged frog (Rana muscosa) in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in California. This once abundant alpine frog has undergone severe declines in recent years, with numerous local die-offs. Research is being conducted on the spatial epidemiology of disease in R. muscosa, to understand why some local populations persist whereas others go extinct. Projects include identifying the modes of pathogen spread, impacts of outbreaks on alpine food webs, and the population genetic consequences of outbreaks for frogs. With regard to frog population and disease management, experiments include evaluating the efficacy of anti-fungal treatments and the feasibility of reintroducing frogs into previous outbreak areas.


Candida auris: Epidemiology, biology, antifungal resistance, and virulence

First described in 2009 in Japan, the emerging multidrug-resistant fungal pathogen Candida auris is becoming a worldwide public health threat that has been attracting considerable attention due to its rapid and widespread emergence over the past decade. The reasons behind the recent emergence of this fungus remain a mystery to date. Genetic analyses indicate that this fungal pathogen emerged simultaneously in several different continents, where 5 genetically distinct clades of C. auris were isolated from distinct geographical locations. Although C. auris belongs to the CTG clade (its constituent species translate the CTG codon as serine instead of leucine, as in the standard code), C. auris is a haploid fungal species that is more closely related to the haploid and often multidrug-resistant species Candida haemulonii and Candida lusitaniae and is distantly related to the diploid and clinically common fungal pathogens Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis. Infections and outbreaks caused by C. auris in hospitals settings have been rising over the past several years. Difficulty in its identification, multidrug resistance properties, evolution of virulence factors, associated high mortality rates in patients, and long-term survival on surfaces in the environment make C. auris particularly problematic in clinical settings. Here, we review progress made over the past decade on the biological and clinical aspects of C. auris. Future efforts should be directed toward understanding the mechanistic details of its biology, epidemiology, antifungal resistance, and pathogenesis with a goal of developing novel tools and methods for the prevention, diagnosis, and treatment of C. auris infections.

Conflict of interest statement

Clarissa J. Nobile is a cofounder of BioSynesis, Inc., a company developing inhibitors and diagnostics of biofilms.

Figures

Fig 1. A review of published literature…

Fig 1. A review of published literature on C . auris between January 2009 and…

Fig 2. Countries with reported cases of…

Fig 2. Countries with reported cases of C . auris infection or colonization from January…


Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal)

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) is an emerging pathogen capable of causing significant morbidity and mortality in salamanders.

The rough-skinned newt (Taricha granulosa) is a western U.S. species of salamander that is highly susceptible to Bsal, based on laboratory studies. Photograph credit: Teal Waterstrat, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service (Public domain.)

The U.S. has the largest diversity of salamanders in the world and introduction of Bsal to North America could have severe impacts on biodiversity and amphibian conservation. The USGS National Wildlife Health Center (NWHC) is collaborating with multiple federal and state partners, including the multi-agency Bsal Task Force, to conduct diagnostic investigations and monitor for Bsal to better understand the fungus and to raise awareness about this threat to our native salamanders.

In 2013, unexpected mortalities of captive and wild fire salamanders (Salamandra salamandra), ultimately attributed to Bsal, were first observed in Belgium and the Netherlands, leading to significant salamander population declines. Since then, Bsal has also been detected in captive salamanders in the United Kingdom and Germany. Studies suggest that Bsal is likely endemic to Asia and may have been introduced into Europe through the global pet trade. Subsequent spillover from captive to wild populations is strongly suspected. From 2010 to 2014, over 750,000 salamanders were imported into the U.S., creating a high probability that Bsal could be introduced into the U.S. The USGS developed a risk assessment to predict the potential distribution of Bsal invasion within the U.S. and analyzed the potential consequences of an introduction (Richgels et al., 2016). The assessment identified that the total risk of Bsal introduction into the U.S. is greatest for the Pacific coast, southern Appalachian Mountains, and mid-Atlantic regions. Overall, the total risk is highest throughout the eastern U.S.

USGS scientist swabbing a Central Newt in Wisconsin to look for an invasive fungus, Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal). (Public domain.)

Currently, the NWHC is providing technical and diagnostic support for an intense surveillance effort in collaboration with the USGS Amphibian Research and Monitoring Initiative (ARMI). Sampling will focus on sites where the probability of introduction is highest and on salamander species that are most susceptible to the disease. In addition to the surveillance project, unusual morbidity and mortality events involving salamanders should be reported to the appropriate state or federal agency or to the NWHC.

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans is closely related to the amphibian pathogen Batrachochytrium dendrobatidis (Bd) which is known to affect more than 200 amphibian species, is linked to spread through the global pet trade, has caused extinctions, and continues to be a leading cause of amphibian mortality events worldwide. Thus, the potential impact of Bsal on salamander biodiversity is a serious concern. Early detection of Bsal would allow for the rapid institution of management actions to prevent and control the spread of the fungus should it be detected in North America.


Cladosporium

Cladosporium species are ubiquitous worldwide, and commonly isolated from soil and organic matter. They represent the most frequently isolated airborne fungi. The genus has undergone a number of revisions. The well-known thermotolerant &lsquotrue human-pathogenic species, formerly known as C. bantiana, C. carrionii and C. devriesii, characterised by the absence of conidiophores, and unpigmented conidial scars, were reclassified in Cladophialophora (de Hoog et al. 1995, Bensch et al. 2012). The remaining species of medical interest were C. cladosporioides, C. herbarum, C. oxysporum, and C. sphaerospermum. More recently, extensive revisions based on polyphasic approaches have recognised 169 species, and demonstrated that C. cladosporioides, C. herbarum and C. sphaerospermum are species complexes encompassing several sibling species that can only be distinguished by phylogenetic analyses (Crous et al. 2007, Schubert et al. 2007, Zalar et al. 2007, Bensch et al. 2010, 2012).

Sandoval-Denis et al. (2015) analysed 92 clinical isolates from the United States using phenotypic and molecular methods, which included sequence analysis of the ITS and D1/D2 regions, partial EF-1&alpha and actin genes. Surprisingly, the most frequent species was Cladosporium halotolerans (15%), followed by C. tenuissimum (10%), C. subuliforme (6%), and C. pseudocladosporioides (5%). However, 40% of the isolates did not correspond to any known species and were deemed to represent at least 17 new lineages for Cladosporium. The most frequent anatomic site of isolation was the respiratory tract (55%), followed by superficial (28%) and deep tissues and fluids (15%). Species of the two recently described Cladosporium-like genera Toxicocladosporium and Penidiella were also reported for the first time from clinical samples (Sandoval-Denis et al. 2015).

RG-1 organisms.

Morphological Description:
Colonies are slow growing, mostly olivaceous-brown to blackish-brown but also sometimes grey, buff or brown, suede-like to floccose, often becoming powdery due to the production of abundant conidia. The reverse is olivaceous-black. Vegetative hyphae, conidiophores and conidia are equally pigmented. Conidiophores are more or less distinct from the vegetative hyphae, being erect, straight or flexuose, unbranched or branched only in the apical region, with geniculate sympodial elongation in some species. Conidia are produced in branched acropetal chains, being smooth, verrucose or echinulate, one to four-celled, and have a distinct dark hilum. The term blastocatenate is often used to describe chains of conidia where the youngest conidium is at the apical or distal end of the chain. Note: The conidia closest to the conidiophore, and where the chains branch, are usually &ldquoshield-shaped&rdquo. The presence of shield-shaped conidia, a distinct hilum, and chains of conidia that readily disarticulate, are characteristic of the genus Cladosporium.

Key Features:
Dematiaceous hyphomycete forming branched acropetal chains of conidia, each with a distinct hilum.

Molecular Identification:
Genus level identification is usually sufficient and morphological identification can be confirmed by ITS and D1/D2 sequence analysis. Multilocus gene analysis of the ITS, D1/D2, EF-1&alpha and actin gene loci is necessary for accurate species identification (Bensche et al. 2012).

Antifungal Susceptibility: Cladosporium species (Sandoval-Denis et al. 2015 and Australian National data) MIC µg/mL.
Antifungal Range MIC90 Antifungal Range MIC90
AmB 0.03-2 2 VORI 0.03-4 0.5
ITRA 0.03-16 0.5 POSA 0.25-16 4

References:
Ellis (1971, 1976), Domsch et al. (1980), McGinnis (1980), de Hoog et al. (2000, 2015), Crous et al. (2007), Schubert et al. (2007), Zalar et al. (2007), Bensch et al. (2010 and 2012), Sandoval-Denis et al. (2015).


List of 3 Common Saprophytic Fungus (With Diagram)

List of three common saprophytic fungus: 1. Mucor 2. Yeast 3. Penicillium.

Saprophytic Fungus # 1. Mucor:

Mucor, also called mould, is a very common saprophytic fungus growing abundantly on decayed organic matters, parti­cularly on those rich in carbohydrates—starch and sugar. Soft white cottony patches of Mucor are frequently found on rotten bread, vegetables and dung.

Plant Body:

The plant body is a copiously branched mycelium, which is a collection of slender non-septate threads called hyphae (sing, hypha). The wall, made, of fungus-cellulose, enclose cytoplasm with many vacuoles and innu­merable nuclei (Fig. 192).

So they are coenocytic. Glycogen and oil globules are present to serve as reserve food. The hyphae become thinner and thinner, the more they penetrate into the sub­stratum for absorbing nourishment. Non-septate mycelium becomes septate on attaining old age and during reproduction.

Reproduction:

Mucor is reproduced by asexual and sexual methods. During asexual reproduction a number of stout aerial hyphae shoot up from the superficial mycelium. After growing to a certain extent, the tip of each of them swells, and some protoplasm with reserve food flows to the enlargement from the adjoining region. Proto­plasm collects more densely towards periphery, the central portion remaining comparatively thin and vacuolated.

A good number of vacuoles arrange themselves between the outer denser protoplasm, called sporoplasm, and the central thinner protoplasm, known as columella-plasm.

The flattened vacuoles coalesce, and as a result, a distinct cleft is formed separating the two regions now a wall is constructed along the cleft delimiting the central sterile dome-shaped region, called columella, which projects into the enlarge­ment. By progressive cleavage or furrowing the sporoplasm now breaks up into a good number of angular masses, each with cytoplasm and many nuclei.

They round off, tough black walls are secreted and final­ly become spores. Mucor spores are also called gonidia (sing, gonidium). The en­largement containing the spores is the sporangium or gonidangium, and the hypha bearing the sporangium at the tip is called sporangiophore or gonidangiophore (Fig. 193).

The outer wall of the sporangium dis­solves in water and the spores are libera­ted. Often a number of spores remain held in suspension. On suitable medium each spore germinates forming one or more germ tube which gives rise to new mycelium.

Sexual reproduction in Mucor takes place by conjugation. Usually hyphae of two sexually different strains, designated as + strain and — strain, send out club-shaped branches called pro-gametangia, which touch at the tips.

Terminal portion of each branch swells and is cut off by a transverse septum. The compart­ments thus formed, function as gametangia, and their protoplasmic contents as gametes. The gametes here are multinucleate and hence called coenogametes.

The remaining portion of hyphal branch is known as suspensor. On dissolution of the wall between them, the gametes fuse, cytoplasm with cytoplasm and nuclei with nuclei in pairs. The nuclei which do not fuse in pairs ultimately disintegrate.

The zygote (zygospore) thus formed enlarges and secretes a tough wall around it which is often warty or spiny. After a period of rest it germinates, when the outer wall bursts and the inner wall with the protoplasmic contents comes out as an un-branched tube (Fig. 194). This is called promycelium.

Tip O promycelium enlarges and produces spores, each of which can give rise to a new mycelium. The spores produced in the sporan­gium resulting from the germination of a zygospore are either all + or all —, never both.

Though Mucor produces isogametes, it shows distinct differen­tiation of sex. American botanist Blakslee showed in 1904 that zygote formation in Mucor is possible only when gametes pro­duced by two different strains meet.

He termed them as + strain and — strain, rather than male and female for the two mycelial types- Morphologically, there is not much difference between the two, only + mycelium grows a bit more vigorously than its — counter­part.

Such species are called heterothallic. Parthenogenesis is not uncommon in this fungus. One of the gametes may behave like a zygospore without actual pairing. This is called azygospore or parthenospore.

Yeast condition or Torula stage of Mucor:

If a portion of non-septate mycelium is put in sugar solution, it readily develops septa and finally breaks up into many one- celled parts called oidia. Like yeast, oidia multiply by budding and can also excite alcoholic fermentation in sugar solution. This is yeast condition or torula stage of Mucor.

Saprophytic Fungus # 2. Yeast (Saccharomyces):

Yeast is a common saprophytic fungus growing in sugary substances. They are abundantly present in grape juice, vine­-yards, nectaries of flowers and sugary exudates of plants like date- palm, juice and palmyra-palm juice.

Plant Body:

The plant body is very simple. Yeasts are unicellular organ­isms. Each cell is elliptical or round in shape having a distinct cell wall. There is granular cytoplasm, a single nucleus and granules of glycogen and protein and oil globules as reserve food. It was believed that the nucleus is a degenerate one due to occurrence of a vacuole, but now it has been found to be a true nucleus.

Reproduction:

Under favourable conditions, i.e., when there is sufficient food, yeast cells reproduce vegetatively by budding. This is the most common method of reproduction in this fungus. A bud or protuberance arises at one end of the cell and gradually enlarges.

The nucleus divides into two by mitosis. One nucleus with some cytoplasm and food flow from the mother cell to the bud. By constriction the bud is separated from the mother cell. By this process a large number of buds are produced which may often remain in the form of short chains (Fig. 196). The idea that the nuclei divide directly by amitosis during the process of budding has been found to be incorrect.

A few of them are called fission yeasts, in which the proto­plast of the mother cell is separated into two parts by the forma­tion of a septum, rather than by constriction as in budding. When food supply is exhausted yeast cells produce spores.

Individual cells enlarge and the nuclei divide once, twice, or thrice, forming 2,4, or 8 nuclei in each cell. Cytoplasm collects round each nucleus and ultimately resistant spores are formed.

The spores are called ascospores and the mother cell (sporangium) is known as ascus. The ascus wall breaks to liberate the asco­spores. Each of them goes on reproducing by budding in suitable medium. This process, described as asexual, is really parthenogenetic (Fig. 197).

Sexual reproduction takes place in some species of yeast by conjugation. Two yeast cells approach each other and touch, where short protuberances are formed.

Dissolution of the wall results in the formation of a short conjugation tube connecting the two cells. The two nuclei move to the tube which broadens considerably and, as a result, the whole thing takes up more or less barrel-shaped appearance. The nuclei fuse in the tube forming zygote (diploid) nucleus.

The zygote nucleus usually divides thrice, of which the first division is reduction division. Cytoplasm collects round each nucleus and usually eight spores are delimited. The spores are the ascospores and the barrel-shaped sporangium is the ascus (Fig. 198). Ascospores come out of the ascus and reproduce by budding is suitable medium.

Alcoholic Fermentation:

Yeast has the property of setting up alcoholic fermentation in sugary solution. We know that alcoholic fermentation is an energy- releasing process brought about by micro-organisms under anaero­bic conditions. Yeast cells secrete an enzyme, zymase, which de­composes sugar into alcohol and carbon dioxide with liberation of energy. CO2 comes out as bubbles forming froth.

It may be represented thus:

For this particular property yeasts are used commercially in breweries for the manufacture of alcoholic beverages like wines, beers, etc. The same principle applies in the preparation of indi­genous liquor, toddy, from sugary exudates. They are also used in bakeries or ‘raising’ of breads.

Yeast cells excite alcoholic fer­mentation in bread paste (dough), and carbon dioxide bubbles, while escaping on application of heat, raise the bread. Yeasts are rich in vitamin B complex. So they have nutritional value as well.

Saprophytic Fungus # 3. Penicillium:

Penicillium is a common saprophytic fungus growing on decayed organic matters like bread, jam, jelly, vegetables and fruits and even on damp shoes and leather. It is known as green or blue mold. The spores -of this fungus are abundantly present everywhere and often cause considerable damage to fruits and vegetables.

Some species are also used in industries. Sir Alexander Flemming isolated the wonder drug, penicillin from Penicillium notatum in 1929. The antibiotic peni­cillin had revolutionised medical science and proved to be a real boon to humanity.

The mycelium is composed of much branched septate hyphae occurring in tangled masses. They ramify extensively on the subs­tratum and many of them penetrate into it to serve as rhizoids. The hyphal cells are multi-nucleate.

Reproduction

This fungus reproduces mainly by asexual method, through the spores called conidia, which are formed in very large number. Sexual method of reproduction has also been reported in some species, though the stages are not very clearly known.

Asexual:

Some stout hyphae come out erect from the mycelium and function as conidiophores. Smaller branches develop from the tip of the conidiophore, which again divide to form a row of closely- packed branches called sterigmata. Un-branched chains of asexual spores—conidia, are cut off from the tip of the sterigmata in basipetal order (Fig. 198A).

The terminal portion of conidiophores with branches and chains of conidia together looks like a broom and is called penicillus—meaning broom. The conidia are globose, ovoid or elliptical with smooth or spiny surface and usually green in colour.

They are uninucleate at the early stage but may become multinucleate in some cases. The conidia are easily dispersed by wind, and germinate on a suitable substratum. A germ tube is first formed which ultimately develops into a new mycelium.

Sexual:

Sexual reproduction, though not clearly known, is oogamous. A hypha comes out erect, enlarges, becomes club-shaped and develops into the ascogonium. The nucleus divides again and again to form 32-64 nuclei dispersed in the cytoplasm of the ascogo­nium. In the meantime another branch comes out of a neighbouring hypha which twines round the ascogonium.

The terminal part of that branch is cut off by a septum, swells and forms the antheridium. It comes in contact with the ascogonium where a pore is formed for movement of the protoplast of the antheridium to the ascogonium. Though gametic union has not been established it may be assumed that the process takes place. By formation of septa the multinucleate ascogonium gives rise to a row of bi-nucleate cells.

Many hyphae with bi-nucleate cells now develop from these cells—which are called ascogeneous hyphae. They become septate, each cell having two nuclei, and the terminal cell develops into an ascus. The two nuclei of the ascus fuse to form the zygote nucleus, which then divides thrice, the first division being reductional, and ultimately produces eight ascospores.

Meanwhile sterile vegetative hyphae send out many branches around the sex organs forming a closed fruit body—the ascocarp. This cover made of hyphal cells is known as cleitothecium, the inner layer of which is nutritive in function. With maturity of the Ascospores the asci dissolve leaving them free and scattered in the cleistothecium. The periderm now decays liberating the ascospores which are easily blown off by wind.


Identification

Identifying lichens is much more difficult than identifying vascular plants. Each lichen thallus is a complete microscopic world with unique characteristics separating it from the other lichens.

Lichens are classified based on the fungus and fungal features. When identifying lichens, keep in mind that one species of fungus can have two different forms if paired with two different "photobionts". It is not common but it does happen.

A lichenologist (Kerry Knudson in California) in the field using a hand-lens to identify a lichen. Photo by Chris Wagner, U.S. Forest Service.

A group of botanists on a lichen excursion. Photo by Chris Wagner, U.S. Forest Service.

In order to identify lichen to species, lichenologists use common household chemicals and some not-so-common chemicals to test the color reaction of the unique compounds found in the structure of the lichen, as well as using a lichen key to distinguish between species. Although a few of the chemicals are common, such as bleach and iodine, others are not as easy to get and are costly and dangerous. However, just about anyone can use a botanical identification key and a hand lens to identify the genus of lichen and appreciate their collection.

Even if you are not interested in identifying lichens, they are still interesting and amazing organisms to look at with the naked eye as well as under a hand lens or microscope. Realizing the roles lichens play in our environment will give you a greater appreciation of the world around you.


Species ID: Buckyball-like fungus - Biology

Adnate Gills, Adnexed Gills See gills.

An amyloid reaction is a bluish-black color change when something is mounted for the microscope in an iodine-based reagent like Melzer's Reagent or Lugol's Reagent.

Spores are typically what is looked at to determine whether the reaction is amyloid or not&mdashbut other microscopic structures sometimes demonstrate the color change, too.

Figuring out what genus your mushroom belongs in is sometimes made easier by knowing whether or not it has amyloid, inamyloid, or dextrinoid spores. Examples include Rhodocollybia versus Gymnopus (dextrinoid versus inamyloid spores) and Porpoloma versus Tricholoma (amyloid versus inamyloid spores).

Identification in the genus Amanita is often facilitated by figuring out whether a collection has amyloid or inamyloid spores. Mycenoid mushroom identification sometimes relies on whether spores are amyloid or not, as well. The frequently beautiful ornamentation of spores in Lactarius and Russula is amyloid, often strongly so, which is why the ornamentation is so visible (and why microscopy in these genera requires a Melzer's mount).

The life cycle of some fungi involves both sexual and asexual stages. For such fungi the anamorph is the asexual stage, while the teleomorph is the sexual stage. In the anamorphic stage asexual reproduction may occur through cloning, with the production of conidia (see spores for more information).

In older taxonomic schemes anamorphs and teleomorphs were sometimes placed in different genera, despite being life cycle stages of the same organism. For example, the anamorph to the left was often recognized as " Xylocoremium flabelliforme ," while its teleomorph was Xylaria cubensis . However, more current taxonomic rules disallow this practice, and the name Xylocoremium flabelliforme is now a deprecated synonym for Xylaria cubensis .

Anamorphs are sometimes called "imperfect fungi."

A ring of tissue around the upper part of a mushroom's stem, resulting from the collapsing of the partial veil, is an "annulus" in Mycologese&mdashor just a "ring" in plain English. Rings are extremely variable, ranging from ephemeral and quickly disintegrating to sturdy and prominent.

The type of ring a mushroom has is frequently a key feature for identification. Some mushrooms, like Macrolepiota procera , have rings which are separable from the stem and can be made to slide up and down. Other rings may be peronate (sheathlike, like the ring of Agaricus bitorquis ), pendant (skirtlike, like the ring of Amanita magnivelaris ), or flaring (like the ring of Tricholoma caligatum , illustrated to the left). Additionally, the position of the ring can be important it may be superior, apical, median, inferior, or basal ("at the very top" to "at the very bottom," in order).

Rings are notoriously absent when they should be present, so be sure to have both mature and immature specimens on hand when attempting difficult identifications the partial veil will show up more clearly with immature specimens.

An appendiculate cap is one in which the tissue of the universal veil hangs over the edge after the cap has expanded and ruptured the veil, as in the illustration of Amanita daucipes to the left.

In the genus Amanita , especially, identification keys often ask for an assessment of whether the cap is appendiculate or not, but the term is occasionally found elsewhere in the mushroom world. The feature is not as stable as one might like, however, due to environmental factors like rain and wind, as well as the fact that mushrooms do not read identification keys, so it is not uncommon to find a mushroom that "should" have an appendiculate cap but does not.

"Areolate," in a mushroom mycology context, means "cracked," usually in age, like many of us. The cap surface of just about any mushroom can become cracked in dry weather conditions, but some species typically develop cracked caps in normal weather conditions. Xerocomellus chrysenteron is a well-known example. Sometimes the color of the flesh, revealed between the cracks of an areolate cap, is also an important identification feature.

Because the "crackedness" of a mushroom's cap is so dependent on environmental conditions, I do not recommend stressing it too heavily in your identification decisions&mdashespecially among the boletes, which are notorious for cracking up when they shouldn't. What they think is so damned funny is beyond me.


Asci of Peziza michelii, with amyloid tips

An ascus (plural asci , which is honest-to-God pronounced "ass eye" in American English) is a microscopic structure in which spores are produced. Asci cover the spore-bearing surfaces of many mushrooms these mushrooms are consequently members of the phylum Ascomycota.

Spores are forcibly ejected from asci at maturity&mdashoften, simultaneously across the spore producing surface, creating a puff of spore "smoke" that can be visible to the naked eye&mdashand even, in some cases, producing a hissing sound!

The number of spores held in a mushroom's asci (typically 8, for species of interest to most mushroom hunters, but sometimes 4, 6, and so on) can occasionally be an informative character in identification choices. A more commonly needed microscopic assessment, however, involves whether the tips of the asci are amyloid and thus turn blue in Melzer's reagent, like the asci of Peziza species like Peziza michelii , pictured to the left.

Basidium, Basidia, Basidiole, Basidiomycota

A basidium (plural basidia ) is a microscopic structure on which spores are produced. Basidia cover the gills, tubes, or other spore-bearing surfaces of many mushrooms these mushrooms are consequently members of the phylum Basidiomycota.

Basidia typically develop apical prongs ("sterigmata") on which spores develop. Determining the number of prongs on a mushroom's basidia (usually 2 or 4) can sometimes be useful for identification (for example in Craterellus or Amanita ). At maturity spores are flung from the basidium's prong into the air currents.

Basidioles are sterile, basidium-like structures&mdashmeaning they do not produce spores and do not have prongs.

Biological Species, Biological Species Concept

A biological species is a species defined using the concept commonly accepted and applied (in the popular mind, anyway) in zoology: if animals can mate and produce offspring, they are the same species.

With mushrooms, however, "mating" is much more complicated. For our purposes here, suffice it to say that mycologists use petri-dish cultures of mushrooms and attempt to pair them with other cultures in mating studies in order to determine whether they constitute the same species.

Disturbingly, mycologists have discovered the possibility that some mushrooms may retain the ability to mate&mdashperhaps as some sort of ancestral vestige&mdashdespite having diverged as phylogenetic species.

Pleurotus pulmonarius , illustrated to the left, is well-supported as a biological species. It also makes a good morphological species and a good phylogenetic species, so all of its species-concept-ducks are in line.


Brachybasidioles in Bolbitius, seen from above

Brachybasidioles, Pavement Cells

Brachybasidioles are microscopic structures present in some gilled mushrooms&mdashparticularly those that are short-lived, like species of Bolbitius and some coprinoid mushrooms, which can appear and collapse within a few hours of morning sunlight.

Brachybasidioles appear between basidia, almost as though their function is to prop up the spore-bearing structures. In the illustrattion to the left, the round-looking items are basidia, while the squarish, blocky structures separating the basidia are the brachybasidioles (the reddish brown, out of focus things are spores). You are looking down on the spore producing surface from above, so you're seeing the tops of the structures&mdashand getting a good view of why brachybasidioles are also called "pavement cells."

The mycelia of brown rot fungi degrade cellulose in the wood they inhabit, resulting in a characteristic decay of the wood, which turns brown and breaks up into more or less cubical chunks.

Brown rot fungi are especially common on the wood of conifers, but can be found on hardwoods as well. Well-known brown rot fungi include species of Laetiporus , Gloeophyllum sepiarium , and Phaeolus schweinitzii .

Laetiporus cincinnatus is a classic butt-rot fungus

The mycelia of butt rot fungi attack trees through their roots and produce decay in the root system and the heartwood of the lower portion of the tree (up to about 10 or 20 feet above ground). The result is a weakened, or even hollow, tree base&mdashwhich makes the tree more susceptible to windthrow, especially if other agents (beetles, for example) have combined destructive forces with the fungus.

The mushrooms produced by butt rot fungi are almost always positioned near the base of the tree, either fruiting from the main trunk or appearing terrestrial.

A clamp connection is a connection between two hyphae (fungal cells). Rather than merely terminating with a septum (a simple dividing wall), clamped cells involve a little arm, or clamp, that reaches from one cell to the next, appearing to hold the cells together.

Some mushrooms have clamp connections others don't. Determining whether clamp connections are present in your mushroom will certainly help you make progress through many traditional, microscope-based identification keys. But it must be pointed out that recent DNA-based research has called into question the whole idea of whether clamp connections are always "informative," consistent characters. Cantharellus and Craterellus , for example, used to be sorted out in large part on the basis of clamp connections&mdashbut DNA has shown us that our arrangements of these genera based on clamps did not provide an accurate picture of what is related to what, and that clamp connectionss, in fact, don't seem to have any correlation to phylogenetic groupings.

Assessing whether basidia have clamp connections at their bases can occasionally be important for identifying mushrooms&mdashfor example in Armillaria , where the basidia of Armillaria mellea are not basally clamped as they are in other species.

A cortina is a form of partial veil consisting of a cobweb-like protective covering over the immature spore bearing surfaces. Cortinas are variable they can be thin and arachnoid, consisting of a few spider-web-like threads&mdashor they can be thicker and more dense (sometimes so thick and dense that the line between cortina and ring can be blurred). Sometimes cortinas can be very difficult to see make sure you are examining very young specimens, and use a hand lens! Cortinas typically stretch open and fall apart as the mushroom matures, disappearing entirely or leaving a ring zone on the stem.

As mushrooms mature and develop spores, still-attached cortinas sometimes catch spores and appear to have changed color as a result, as in the illustration to the left, wherein the far-left cortina has been covered with rusty brown spore dust.

The genus Cortinarius is so named because its members typically have a cortina when young. Other genera that often feature cortinas include Hebeloma and Inocybe . A few tricholomas and waxy caps feature cortinas for example the presence or absence of a cortina when in the button stage can help separate Hygrophorus erubescens from Hygrophorus purpurascens .

Cystidia (singular: cystidium) are special, sterile cells viewed under the microscope. The presence or absence of cystidia&mdashas well as their shapes and sizes, if they are present&mdashis sometimes important in mushroom identification.

Cystidia can appear anywhere on a mushroom's fruiting body. On mushrooms with gills, cystidia on the edges of the gills are called cheilocystidia , while cystidia on the faces of the gills are called pleurocystidia . On mushrooms with tubes, cheilocystidia appear on the mouths of the tubes while pleurocystidia are on the tube walls. Cystidia on a mushroom's stem are caulocystidia cystidia on a mushroom's cap are pileocystidia .

Chrysocystidia are cystidia with yellowish refractive contents. Metuloids are prominently projecting pleurocystidia with thick walls. Skeletocystidia are the thick-walled, cystidium-like ends of skeletal hyphae that project through the spore-bearing surface.

A dextrinoid reaction is a reddish brown color change when something is mounted for the microscope in an iodine-based reagent like Melzer's Reagent or Lugol's Reagent.

Spores are typically what is looked at to determine whether the reaction is dextrinoid or not&mdashbut other microscopic structures sometimes demonstrate the color change, too.

Figuring out what genus your mushroom belongs in is sometimes made easier by knowing whether or not it has amyloid, inamyloid, or dextrinoid spores. Examples include Rhodocollybia versus Gymnopus (dextrinoid versus inamyloid spores) and Porpoloma versus Tricholoma (amyloid versus inamyloid spores).

The genus Rhodocollybia can be separated from other collybioid mushrooms on the basis of its dextrinoid spores.

Lepiotoid mushrooms often have dextrinoid spores, as do some marasmioid mushrooms, along with species of Cortinarius , Galerina , Gymnopilus , and Hebeloma , among others.

Dimitic Hyphal System See hyphae.

Ectomycorrhizal, Ectomycorrhiza/ae See mycorrhizal.


Effused-reflexed fruiting bodies of Phlebia tremellosa

An effused-reflexed mushroom is one that is closely appressed to the substrate (resupinate) except for a small margin that extends to form a rudimentary cap-like structure.

Effused-reflexed mushrooms are found among crust fungi and polypores. For many mushrooms, the "decision" to develop an effused-reflexed fruiting body or a truly pileate fruiting body is simply a matter of where the mushroom is growing (on the underside of a log, on its side, or on top of the log) and what fruiting body style will best expand the spore-producing surface. Ischnoderma resinosum , for example, is equally happy being resupinate, effused-reflexed, or pileate.

Endomycorrhizal, Endomycorrhiza/ae See mycorrhizal.

Fairy Ring See the page for fairy rings.

False gills are folds in a mushroom's spore-bearing surface that can approximate the appearance of gills, but differ by not being structurally distinct units. False gills appear in the chanterelles and in a few other mushrooms.

Assessing whether gills are "false" or not is not always easy, since some Cantharellus species can develop very gill-like false gills. But if you have carefully examined the gills on truly-gilled mushrooms (for example the common store-bought mushroom, Agaricus bisporus ), you will have noticed that each gill is structurally separate you can, for example, separate it from the cap fairly easily, and it doesn't seem as though it was part of the cap. Separating a false gill from the mushroom, however, is not as easily accomplished, since the interior of the false gill is actually composed of the mushroom's flesh.

Gills ("lamellae" in Mycologese) are plate-like or blade-like structures attached to the underside of the cap in many members of the Basidiomycota. Mushrooms with gills are commonly called "gilled mushrooms," but that term has little scientific meaning since gills developed several times on the evolutionary tree and the presence of gills does not, therefore, necessarily signify close relationship.

Gills are covered with spore-producing basidia, and represent an ingenious way to expand the mushroom's spore producing surface imagine the total surface area of all the gills on a mushroom (both sides!), as compared to the surface area of a single, flat surface the size of the mushroom's cap.

Assessing the morphology of a mushroom's gills is crucial in mushroom identification. Gill attachment to the stem and gill spacing are illustrated below. Other important gill details include their color (which can change as the mushroom matures) and consistency (brittle, for example, or waxy), as well as the presence or absence of short gills. Some mushrooms have gills with serrated edges (for example, species of Lentinellus ). Other mushrooms have frequently forked gills ( Russula variata ), or gills with cross-veins ( Xeromphalina kauffmanii ).

See also "What, if anything, is a gilled mushroom?" on the page for Lenzites betulina .

Glandular dots are aggregations of small, pigmented cells that appear to the naked eye like dots.

Glandular dots are found in Suillus . The dots are usually very small, and result from clusters of pigmented, inflated cells on the stem surface. Identifying Suillus species often hinges on the presence or absence of glandular dots&mdashbut this can be a frustrating character to assess, since many species have whitish or pale glandular dots that do not darken and become conspicuous until maturity, or when the mushroom is dried.


Gleba covering the cap of Phallus impudicus

The term "gleba" is used in two fairly distinct ways:

1) In puffballs, the spore-producing portion of the interior is called the gleba. Typically a puffball's gleba is fleshy at first and then disintegrates, becoming dusty spore powder. In some puffballs the gleba is distinct from a sterile base, which does not turn into spore dust. Puffball gleba is illustrated in the glossary entry for sterile base.

2) In stinkhorns, gleba is the stinky, sticky, usually-olive-or-brown, spore-filled slime that covers some surface or surfaces on the stinkhorn to attract insects for spore dispersal. In the illustration to the left, dark brown gleba covers the head of Phallus impudicus .

A glebifer is the organ that produces gleba on a stinkhorn.

Concerning puffballs, compare with sterile base.


Two-toned hygrophanous cap of Galerina marginata

A mushroom cap that changes color markedly as it dries out&mdashoften resulting in a two-toned appearance during the process&mdashis "hygrophanous."

Well-known mushrooms that often demonstrate hygrophanous caps include Galerina marginata (illustrated to the left), Panaeolus foenisecii , and Psathyrella candolleana .

In the genus Cortinarius , assessing whether the cap is hygrophanous can be important in narrowing down identification choices, since the traditional subgenus Telamonia is (partly) separated on the basis of the hygrophanous caps of the species.

There once was a chicken named Darren
Who had a hygrophanous beak.
He wondered why no one was carin'
That his craw was a color-change sneak.

That's something you won't get anywhere else, ladies and germs.


The striking red hymenium of Sarcoscypha austriaca

A mushroom's hymenium is the surface on which it produces spores. Microscopic spore-producing structures (either asci or basidia) cover the hymenium and, at maturity, release spores.

The hymenium of some mushrooms is flat and simple&mdashas in cup fungi like Sarcoscypha austriaca , pictured to the left, or in the crust fungi. Other mushrooms, presumably in a strategy to increase surface area for the spore-producing machinery, create wrinkles, pockets, and folds (for example, morels). Even more spore-producing surface area is accomplished with tubes or gills.

Hypha, Hyphae, Hyphal System, Hyphal Peg, Hyphal Tower

Hyphae (singular: hypha) are fungal cells they are tube-like and elongated.

For some mushrooms (primarily polypores), mycologists describe the types of hyphae that make up a mushroom, constituting the the "hyphal system." Generative hyphae are thin-walled, septate, branched hyphae, and are the fundamental type from which the other hyphal types arise. Skeletal hyphae are thick-walled, aseptate, and unbranched. Binding hyphae are thick-walled, aseptate, and distinctly branched. Monomitic hyphal systems are composed of generative hyphae only. Dimitic hyphal systems are composed of generative and skeletal hyphae, or are composed of generative and binding hyphae. Trimitic hyphal systems are composed of all three hyphal types.

Hyphal pegs are found in some mushrooms (for example Lentinus tigrinus ), and consist of small, peg-like aggregations of hyphae protruding from the hymenium.

The Hyphal Tower, the world's tallest mushroom, is in Paris.

An inamyloid reaction is a negative (lack of) color change when something is mounted for the microscope in an iodine-based reagent like Melzer's Reagent or Lugol's Reagent.

Spores are typically what is looked at to determine whether the reaction is inamyloid or not.

Figuring out what genus your mushroom belongs in is sometimes made easier by knowing whether or not it has amyloid, inamyloid, or dextrinoid spores. Examples include Rhodocollybia versus Gymnopus (dextrinoid versus inamyloid spores) and Porpoloma versus Tricholoma (amyloid versus inamyloid spores).

Identification in the genus Amanita is often facilitated by figuring out whether a collection has amyloid or inamyloid spores. Mycenoid mushroom identification sometimes relies on whether spores are amyloid or inamyloid, as well.

Compare with dextrinoid and amyloid see also


KOH turns the flesh of Hapalopilus nidulans purple

KOH is the chemical symbol for potassium hydroxide&mdasha strong base often used to study mushrooms. Although it is sometimes difficult to obtain, KOH can usually be purchased without too much difficulty. Several major online vendors have it available.

KOH is used in a 2 percent aqueous solution as a mounting medium for microscopic examination of mushrooms. As a medium it often does a good job of clarifying mounts and making tissues and structures visible. It has its drawbacks (for example it tends to swell some structures) but it has been used for so long by mycologists that using it is necessary if one wants to compare data with their work.

Away from the microscope, a stronger solution of KOH (somewhere in the neighborhood of 3&ndash10 percent) is used to test chemical reactions on mushrooms' surfaces color-change reactions like the dramatic purple on the flesh of Hapalopilus nidulans pictured to the left can be useful in identification.

Lugol's reagent is an iodine-based stain that is often proposed as an easy-to-obtain substitute for Melzer's reagent (which is used to determine whether spores and tissues are amyloid, inamyloid, or dextrinoid). However, a study by Leonard (2006) in which "[t]he spores of 35 species of fungi were tested with Melzer's, Lugol's, and iodine solutions" found that "[a]ll 35 species reacted as predicted from authoritative sources with Melzer's but results were inconsistent with Lugol's and iodine."

In our context, marginate is usually a description for gills in which the edges are colored differently than the faces&mdash as in Pluteus atromarginatus , to the left, which is named for its black-marginate ( atro-marginatus ) gills. Marginate gills are usually caused by microscopic cheilocystidia on the gill edges. Well-known mushrooms with marginate gills include Entoloma serrulatum and Mycena leaiana

The term is also used occasionally to describe stem bases that have large bulbs with a flattened upper edge&mdashfor example Amanita abrupta or Agaricus reducibulbus .

Melzer's reagent is an iodine-based stain regularly used in mycological microscope work to better see tissues and to determine whether spores and tissues are amyloid, inamyloid, or dextrinoid. It is unfortunately extremely difficult to obtain. Melzer's contains water, iodine, and potassium iodide, all of which are fairly easy to get hold of&mdashbut it also contains chloral hydrate, which is a controlled substance. Thus, you won't be able to buy it easily. Virtually your only option is to beg it from a professional mycologist. Even mycologists have difficulty obtaining Melzer's, however, and if the mycologist you know can't afford to provide you with some of her precious supply (or if you cannot find a mycologist), your last resort is to try explaining your situation to your doctor and getting a prescription for chloral hydrate (not likely it's a date-rape drug) or for Melzer's reagent itself, which a compounding pharmacist could mix according to the formula below, and which your doctor would need to write on the prescription (still not very likely, but not unheard of).

Water: 20.0 gm
Chloral hydrate: 20.0 gm
Iodine crystals: 0.5 gm
Potassium iodide (KI): 1.5 gm

Monomitic Hyphal System See hyphae.

Lactarius gerardii is a morphological species

Morphological Species, Morphological Species Concept

A morphological species is defined using the concept used through centuries in mycology, until fairly recently: if the mushrooms have significantly different morphology, they represent different species. An organism's morphology is its set of observable features, which can be macroscopic and/or microscopic.

There are obvious problems with using morphology to define species. Where do you draw the lines? There are differences between individual mushrooms, of course when do you decide that a group of mushrooms shares enough observable features to constitute a group we should label a "species?" How much importance do you attach to each of the various features? Is color more important than spore size? These questions (and many, many others) lead to an uncomfortable conclusion: it is scientists who determine what makes a species, rather than the mushrooms. In other words, there is nothing inherently natural about a morphological species it represents merely what the human eye can see (with and without the help of technology).

Lactarius gerardii , pictured to the left, was originally described in the 19th century as a morphological species. However, DNA research indicates there are several phylogenetic species within the morphological concept of " Lactarius gerardii ."

Every so often I get an email asking me if the thing in the attached photo is a mushroom or a toadstool. I want to say: What the fuck does that even mean? But I don't. I just click "delete" and move on with my life. "Mushroom" isn't a scientific term. I once had a very good teacher who defined poetry as "any text someone asks you to consider as poetry." I'm inclined to do more or less the same with "mushrooms." They are fungi, but they are definitely not all fungi (a category that would include, for example, ring worm and the bluish mold that appears on your bread)&mdashso where you want to draw the "mushroom" line within the fungi is up to you.

That said, one good way of understanding mushrooms, I think, is to consider them as spore factories. Most of the time, the fungal organism in question spends its time as vegetative mycelium, looking nothing like the "mushroom" thing we're talking about. But when the reproductive urge takes hold (that's called "personification"), the fungus produces a spore factory&mdasha structure to make babies and send them out into the world.

Perhaps the organism designs a stem or a pseudostem, preparing to lift the spore-producing shop floor high enough so that the spores will easily catch air currents. Perhaps a cup is created, or a cap, to hold the floor. Asci or basidia, the actual spore-producing machines, are erected all across the floor. Some organisms increase the factory capacity immensely by increasing the floor size with gills, false gills, or tubes. Sometimes the factory adds safety features: veils are erected to cover and protect the machinery until the spores are ready.

As soon as the spores are released, the factory shuts down. The "mushroom" wilts, decays, and eventually disappears. But the organism itself continues, perhaps in the same place, if the mycelium has not run out of nutrients&mdashor somewhere else, when spores land in just the right places, germinate, and develop into mycelia.

Pictured to the left is probably the most iconic "mushroom" in the world, Amanita muscaria var. muscaria . The Mario Kart mushroom. The old-farm-woman-bending-over-in-her-polka-dotted-dress mushroom. The hookah-smoking-caterpillar-Lewis-Carroll mushroom. Amanita muscaria is one of the more complex and elaborate (and beautiful!) spore factories it features a long stem, a universal veil to protect the construction of the factory, a partial veil to protect the spore-producing machinery, and the perfect timing required to raise the cap up and expand it to break the veils and release spores.

A "mushroom" is only the reproductive part of the organism&mdashin the way an apple is the fruit of the whole organism, the apple tree. The main part of a mushroom is underground, or running through the leaves or deadwood (or other substrate) it consists of a mass of hyphae, often visible to the naked eye as a whitish mass or as whitish threads the mycelium of Marasmius delectans , spreading through hardwood leaf litter beneath the mushrooms, is illustrated to the left. Perhaps you have seen decaying leaves covered with whitish, fuzzy material before in many cases this is the mycelium of a mushroom.

The mycelium is present even when there are no mushrooms. In fact, mushrooms spend most of their life cycle as mycelium, vegetating and consuming nutrients from whatever substrate they inhabit, only producing what we know as "mushrooms" when it's time to reproduce.

Some mushrooms, like species of Armillaria , have mycelia that can stretch for miles and miles you may remember the recent discovery through DNA testing of the "world's largest organism," an Armillaria species in the Pacific Northwest.

Evidence of the mycelium is sometimes found at the base of a mushroom's stem there may be mycelial down or fuzz where the stem meets the ground. The presence or absence of basal mycelium is sometimes important in the identification process, as is its color. Frustratingly, current literature for both Laccaria and Phylloporus relies heavily on the color of the basal mycelium when the mushroom is fresh. In Laccaria one is asked to assess whether or not the basal mycelium was white or lilac&mdashbut the lilac colors are often faint to begin with, and fade very quickly. In Phylloporus the choice is yellow or white, and only slightly easier to determine.

Mycelial cords or strands, called "rhizoids" or "rhizomorphs," are found in some species, and their presence sometimes helps in identification decisions. See the page for Armillaria mella for an illustration of its large, black, conspicuous rhizomorphs, and see the illustrations on the page for Stropharia hardii for smaller, more typical, white rhizomorphs.

Mycelium is not always as obvious as it is in the Marasmius photo to the left to view the basal mycelium of a mushroom you must be sure to include the stem base when you pick it&mdashand digging around in the substrate with a pocket knife is often necessary to find rhizomorphs.

Mushrooms that are mycorrhizal are involved in a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the tiny rootlets of plants&mdashusually trees. The hyphae of the mushroom's mycelium surround the tree rootlets with a sheath (called a mycorrhiza ), and the mushroom helps the tree absorb water and nutrients while the tree provides sugars and amino acids to the mushroom. The organisms may need each other to survive.

(Strictly speaking, the mushrooms I'm calling "mycorrhizal" are ectomycorrhizal . There are also endomycorrhizal fungi their hyphae actually penetrate the plant's rootlets, rather than surrounding the rootlets with a sheath. However, endomycorrhizal fungi do not produce mushrooms.)

Not all trees are mycorrhizal. Maples, for example, do not form (ecto)mycorrhizal relationships with fungi, while oaks and pines (among many others) are eager to partner with mushroom-producing fungi.

Some mycorrhizal mushrooms are very host specific and will only form mycorrhizae with a certain species of tree. Suillus lakei is an example it partners only with Douglas-fir. Other mycorrhizal mushrooms are willing to grow with closely related trees&mdashfor example, Suillus tomentosus will grow with two-needled pine species like lodgepole pine or jack pine. Others are less picky Tylopilus rubrobrunneus will associate with many different oaks and hickories&mdashand some mycorrhizal mushrooms are generalists, not very picky at all, willing to associate with hardwoods and conifers alike (for example, Amanita jacksonii ).

Many of our most well-known mushrooms are mycorrhizal, including species of Amanita , Russula , Lactarius , Cortinarius , and most boletes.


"Hooked" paraphyses in the genus Otidea

Paraphyses (singular: paraphysis) are sterile structures in the hymenium of some mushrooms in the Ascomycota. Typically, paraphyses are packed between the spore-producing asci. They are often boring: about as long as the asci, skinny, and tubular, with rounded tips. However, in some mushrooms paraphyses are more distinctive, and their anatomy can be a very informative character for mushroom identification.

"Hooked" paraphyses (see the illustration to the left) help to define the genus Otidea . Paraphyses in Gyromitra are filled with orangish contents, helping to separate mushrooms in that genus from look-alikes. Paraphyses in Ionomydotis irregularis develop swollen, spear-shaped tips. However, the FPA (Funkiest Paraphyses Award) probably goes to Microstoma floccosum , in which the paraphyses crawl among the asci and encase them.

Identification of species of Geoglossum , all of which look more or less the same to the naked eye, relies heavily on the fine points of paraphysis morphology.

Cordyceps species parasitizing a wasp

Mushrooms that are parasitic consume the living tissues of other organisms (plants, trees, even insects or other mushrooms), sometimes causing a disease or killing them in the process (in which case they are pathogenic ). Parasitism is fairly common among mushrooms, and is famously demonstrated in Pseudoboletus parasiticus , which attacks the fungus Scleroderma citrinum . Other parasites include species of Hypomyces , which parasitize mushrooms, and Armillaria solidipes , which attacks trees and is a constant concern in forest management.

Species of Cordyceps and related genera win the prize for most astonishing fungal parasites, since they attack insects, as in the illustration to the left. Cordyceps militaris is a well-known example. Readers who have seen the BBC's Planet Earth series have watched Cordyceps mycelium-infected, living ants turned into zombies and commanded by the fungus to climb to an advantageous height before being killed, at which point the mushroom erupts through the dead ant's head to disperse spores into air currents.


Partial veil of Agaricus leptocaulis, just after separation from the cap margin

A partial veil is a covering over the gills or pores of young, button mushrooms, serving to protect the spore-bearing surfaces until the spores have matured. The partial veil may take the form of a flimsy tissue which peels away as the mushroom matures, either disappearing or collapsing around the stem to form a ring or ring zone&mdashor it may take the form of a cortina.

Independent of whether the partial veil leaves evidence of itself on the mushroom's stem as a ring or ring zone, it may also leave fragments clinging to the margin of the cap (this is often true in Psathyrella candolleana , for example). Sometimes, these partial veil remnants are the only evidence one has that there was ever a partial veil at all, and their presence or absence can be important in mushroom identification.

Patches are proportionally large, membranous remainders of a universal veil, left on the cap surface, as in the illustration of Amanita ceciliae to the left.

The line separating patches from warts is a bit blurry the distinction is primarily a matter of size and consistency. Patches tend to be larger and less consistent, while warts are smaller and more consistent.

Some mushrooms are known for (usually, or at least often) featuring one large patch (for example Amanita calyptroderma ).

Pendant Hanging like a skirt. See annulus, ring.


Perithecia of Xylaria polymorpha (surface sliced away) .

Perithecia (singular: perithecium) are the spore-producing pockets featured in some fungi in the Ascomycota. They are bump- or flask-like structures, often embedded in the surface, or just below the surface, of the mushroom. Inside the perithecium, asci and spores are produced eventually, when the fungus is mature, the spores are released.

Species in the Sordariomycetes feature perithecia among the most familiar species for mushroom collectors are Xylaria polymorpha and other Xylaria species, Cordyceps militaris , and Daldinia childiae .


Peronate universal veil on the stem of Cortinarius torvus.

A mushroom's stem is "peronate" when it appears booted&mdashlike it is wearing a stocking. The stocking is usually the result of a universal veil that initially covered the whole mushroom but, as the stem elongated and the cap expanded, was left on the lower portion of the stem.

Species of Cortinarius often have peronate stems, along with some species of Tricholoma , Suillus , Hygrophorus , and other mushrooms.

Morchella cryptica is a phylogenetic species

Phylogenetic Species, Phylogenetic Species Concept

The reigning way of defining a mushroom species at the time of this writing (2018) uses a phylogenetic species concept species defined this way are phylogenetic species . To make a very long and complicated story short, a phylogenetic species is determined by analysis of its DNA.

The science behind DNA analysis of mushrooms is still evolving, and changes fairly dramatically with regularity. Not too long ago (like, only 15&ndash20 years ago), one type of DNA analysis was widely used and papers were published based on these findings now technological and protocol advances have rendered these findings quaint and often inaccurate. DNA studies looking at one gene were published . . . then two genes became the standard, and now at least three or four are often required (depending on the mushrooms). In short, we can expect further refinements and changes and, with them, revisions of previous findings. If this frustrates you, it may be worth remembering that science would not be science without such progressions and revisions it would be fundamentalism, instead.

Morchella cryptica , pictured to the left, is a well-supported phylogenetic species, but it fails miserably as a morphological species, since its physical features are indistinguishable from those of Morchella esculentoides &mdashwhich makes it a cryptic species , since you can't tell it from another species (hence its Latin name).


The pileipellis of Retiboletus fuscus is a gorgeous trichoderm.

The pileipellis is the surface of a mushroom's cap, as seen under the microscope.

There are many types of pileipellis. A cutis is a type of pileipellis in which hyphae are arranged more or less parallel to the cap's surface (illustrated on the page for Pluteus longistriatus ) in an ixocutis the hyphae are gelatinized (see Leratiomyces squamosus var. thraustus ). A trichoderm , illustrated to the left, is a type of pileipellis in which the hyphae arise perpendicular to the cap surface in an ixotrichoderm the hyphae are gelatinized (see Hygrocybe glutinipes ). In an epithelium the hyphae are also perpendicular to the cap surface, but they are swollen and frequently septate (see Lactarius lignyotus ). A hymeniform pileipellis is one in which the hyphae are club-shaped and arise perpendicular to the cap surface the hyphae are inflated and resemble immature basidia (see Lacrymaria velutina ). A pileipellis is sometimes called "cellular" when it appears to consist of swollen cells a hymeniform pileipellis, for example, can appear "cellular" when viewed from above. In a hyphoepithelium , a trichoderm is covered by a very thin, cutis-like layer. In a lamprotrichoderm the upright elements are thick-walled, elongated, and pointed (see Lactarius subvellereus var. subdistans ).

A pileus (plural: pilei) is the cap, or cap-like structure, of a mushroom a mushroom that features a cap or head is called "pileate."

Mushrooms can feature caps regardless of whether a stem is also present. Caps range from tiny and ephemeral (as in Leucocoprinus fragilissimus , illustrated to the left) to large structures that persist for years (as in Ganoderma applanatum ).

The Latin suffix &mdashcephala (&mdashcephalo, &mdashcephalus) indicates a mushroom's cap. Thus Lysurus corallocephalus has an coral-like cap.

Pores on mushrooms are tiny holes, just as they are with skin. Many mushrooms produce their spores on the inside surfaces of tubes the mouths of the tubes form pores.

The pore surface is the surface comprised of all the tube mouths, together, as in the pore surface of Rubroboletus dupainii , illustrated to the left. Observation of the pore surface is often important in mushroom identification. The size of the pores (usually expressed as a number of pores per millimeter) can be important, as well as their arrangement. Often the tiny holes make no particular pattern, but in some cases they are clearly elongated and radially arranged, especially near the stem. Pores like this, in Mycologese, are called boletinoid (see Boletinelluis merulioides for an example). In some cases pores are so boletinoid that they begin to form ridges near the stem and can approximate the appearance of gills this kind of arrangement is called lamellate.

The color of a mushroom's pore surface can be crucial to identifying it&mdashbut be aware that the color is frequently subject to change as the mushroom develops. When identifying boletes, therefore, it is often necessary to have collected mushrooms in both "button" and mature stages. Whether the pore surface bruises is also an important feature scratch the pore surface with the tip of a knife to see any color changes. The pore surface to the left has bruised blue where it was handled.


Linnaeus's 1753 protologue for Phallus impudicus

The original, first-ever scientific name for a mushroom species is called the "basionym," and the published text in which the basionym occurs is the "protologue."

To the left is the 1753 protologue for Phallus impudicus , which appeared in Linnaeus's Species Plantarum &mdashthe first publication to apply what we now call the Linnaean system of binomial nomenclature. Linnaeus gives the species its name ("PHALLUS" and, in the right margin, "impudicus"), then describes it as a Phallus species with a volva, a stem, and a chambered cap. After that he cites five previous descriptions of the mushroom note that the previous authors did not use the binomial system, with the exception of " Phallus hollandicus f. batavicus (the Batavian regional form of the Dutch Phallus )&mdashand, note the amusing last citation, for "stinky fungus that brings to mind a penis." Then Linnaeus closes the protologue with "Habitat in woods."

A pseudostem ("pseudostipe" in Mycologese) is, well, pretty much what you would think it is: a not-quite stem.

Pseudostems develop on many mushrooms, including some puffballs and species of Scleroderma , some polypores, and some cup fungi.


Resupinate fruiting bodies of Phlebiopsis crassa

A resupinate mushroom is flattened or closely appressed to the substrate (usually a log), lacking a well defined cap or stem.

Resupinate mushrooms are found among crust fungi and polypores&mdashand, depending on what you're calling a mushroom, potentially many other fungi.

Many polypores and crusts are opportunistic and develop different fruiting body forms depending on which form (resupinate, effused-reflexed or pileate) will best increase the surface area of the spore-bearing surface.


Reticulation on the stem of Retiboletus griseus, the spores of Lactarius rubrilacteus, and the neck of Giraffa camelopardalis reticulata.

Reticulation, Reticulate, Reticulated, Reticulum

Reticulation is a net-like pattern something that features reticulation is reticulate, or reticulated.

The stems of boletes are often reticulate, and assessing this can be very important in bolete identification. The tiny ridges comprising reticulation on bolete stems are in fact extensions of the pore surface the criss-cross pattern formed by the reticulation is like the pattern of the pores, but stretched out as a result of the stem's growth (if you're having trouble believing this, see this illustration of the stem of Boletus separans ). Although bolete stem reticulation is often obvious, deciding whether some boletes' stems are reticulate, partially reticulate, slightly reticulate near the apex, or not reticulate at all can be one of mushroom identification's more frustrating tasks.

Spores of mushrooms sometimes feature reticulate ornamentation for example this is often the case in Lactarius and Russula , where the reticulation, when present, is amyloid.

The word "reticulum" is a noun referring to the network pattern itself&mdashfor example, a "stem with a raised reticulum that darkens on handling."


Ring zone on the stem of a Cortinarius

A "ring zone" is a zone on the upper stem of a mushroom resulting from the collapse of the partial veil. Ring zones are frequently not as prominent as the rust-colored zone on the Cortinarius species illustrated to the left, which captured rusty spores as the gills matured. Ring zones can be barely noticeable. Use a hand lens if you are unsure! The ring zone may be the result of a tissue-like partial veil, or it may result from a cortina. In my experience, mushrooms that are "supposed to" have ring zones frequently do not, even when a hand lens is used&mdashall the more reason to have both mature and immature specimens available when attempting a difficult identification, since the partial veil will be more easily seen on buttons.

Mycena inclinata is a wood-decomposing saprobe

Saprobe, Saprobic, Saprophyte, Saprotrophic

Mushrooms that are saprobes survive by decomposing dead or decaying organic material and using it as food. Many wood-rotting fungi are saprobes, and help decompose deadwood&mdashbut other wood rotters are parasitic and attack living wood. Most yard and garden mushrooms (for example Marasmius oreades ) are saprobes, as well as dung-loving mushrooms ( Panaeolus semiovatus is an example) and mushrooms that decompose leaf or needle litter (like Marasmius pulcherripes ).

Scabers are small, scurfy aggregations of fibers (as on the stem of the Leccinum pictured to the left) something is scabrous if it has scabers.

The term comes into play primarily in Leccinum , where the color of the scabers is/was often used as an informative character in identification keys and older taxonomic schemes.

Scrobiculate, Scrobicules, Scrobiculi, Potholes

A scrobiculate surface is one that features small pothole-like depressions known as scrobicules or scrobiculi .

Generally the term is applied in discussions of the stem surface in Lactarius , where determining the presence or absence of potholes can help in the identification process. However, a Lactarius cap can also feature potholes.

Potholes are the result of a thin layer of slime, and represent areas where the cells on the stem surface have become gelatinized. A study of Lactarius stems by Nancy Weber "came to the conclusion that the viscid areas were the smooth shiny scrobiculi present on many species" (Hesler & Smith 1979). Under the microscope, a layer of gelatin-like material can be seen over the potholes.

A septate structure is divided into sections by cross-walls, which are called septa (singular: septum). Various hyphae can be septate, as well as some spores. In the illustration to the left, the upper spore has six septa, while the bottom spore has seven.

In the jelly fungi, it is often useful to know whether or not the basidia are septate or not (and, if so, how) in order to determine the mushroom's genus.

Sometimes hyphae become a little swollen and appear constricted at the septa occasionally this is important information for identification (for example in the paraphyses of Geoglossum species).

Setae (singular: seta) are cystidia that are thick-walled and dark brown to black in KOH.

The term is usually applied in the polypores (for example in Phellinus and Inonotus ) and in the crust fungi (where, for example, "if it ain't got setae, it ain't Hymenochaete "), but some mycologists use the term for similar structures in mushrooms with gills (for example in Parasola conopilus ).

Short-gills ("lamellulae" in Mycologese) are gills that begin at the margin of the cap but do not extend all the way to the stem. The presence or absence of short-gills is occasionally an important piece of the mushroom identification puzzle (for example in the genus Russula ).

A slime veil is a form of universal veil in which the protective veil is composed of gluten rather than tissue, as in Cortinarius collinitus .

Slime veils are found in some species of Cortinarius , Hygrophorus , Gomphidius , and Limacella .

In some species of Hygrophorus , like Hygrophorus olivaceoalbus there are two layers to the universal veil: a slime veil and a slightly more tissue-like veil of fibers beneath it.

Spores are microscopic, single-celled units produced by mushrooms in the process of sexual reproduction&mdashroughly analagous to "seeds." The spores are generated on the mushroom's hymenium, and are produced either by asci or basidia, depending on the type of mushroom (officially, spores in the Ascomycota are called "ascospores," and spores in the Basidiomycota are called "basidiospores"). Spores are launched into air currents eventually, if conditions allow, they germinate to form an organism's new mycelium.

Mushroom spores are incredibly diverse, ranging from boring and round or ellipsoid to star-shaped (like the spores of Inocybe insignis to the left), cube-shaped (see Entoloma quadratum ), needle-shaped (see Cudonia circinans ), spiny (see Strobilomyces confusus ), prickly-pear-ish (see Thelephora anthocephala ), and so on and so on.

Asexual spores, called conidia or, in some cases, chlamydospores , are produced by some mushrooms conidia can germinate to produce a new organism through cloning, without sexual reproduction. The presence of conidia and conidia-producing structures is sometimes an informative character in mushroom identification (for example in Ganoderma ). Illustrations comparing conidia and ascospores of the same species can be found on the page for Kretzschmaria deusta .

Assessing the morphology of a mushroom's spores is one of the fundamental elements of mushroom identification sporal shapes, textures, and measurements are often very crucial to figuring out what a mushroom is. See viewing and measuring spores for an introduction.

En masse , spores are visible to the naked eye in the form of a spore print.

Spore Print, Spore Deposit

A "spore print," sometimes called a "spore deposit," is a mass of spores that can be seen with the naked eye. The white spore print of Armillaria mellea can be seen in the photo to the left because these mushrooms grow in clusters, they often overlap, so that the gills sit above the surfaces of other caps during development, resulting in a spore print if the gills reach maturity.

The color of a mushroom's spore print is essential information in the identification process. Fortunately it is possible to make a spore print, rather than rely on nature to produce in-situ prints like the ones illustrated. See making spore prints for an introduction to the process.

For centuries mushrooms were classified in great part according to the color of their spore prints. While recent DNA-based mycology has shown that such arrangements were not necessarily always accurate (for example, the white-spored Lepiota cristata is more closely related to the black-spored Coprinus comatus than it is to many other white-spored mushrooms), spore print color is still one of the best tools in the identification toolbox, regardless of whether the colors represent natural groupings.


Sectioned fruiting body of Calvatia cyathiformis. Pale yellowish flesh is gleba flesh underneath gleba is sterile base.

A sterile base is the basal, fleshy portion of the interior of some puffballs, separate from the spore-producing gleba.

The presence or absence of a sterile base can be a useful character in identifying puffballs. Species of Lycoperdon , for example, usually feature a fairly well-developed sterile base, while species of Bovista do not.


Swollen stipe on an old fruiting body of Morchella prava

Stipe, Stipitate, Stem, Stalk

In Mycologese, the "stipe" is the stem, or stalk, of a mushroom a mushroom with a stem is "stipitate."

Stems are incredibly variable among mushrooms&mdashand in many mushrooms the stem changes rather dramatically in the course of a mushroom's development. the morphology of a mushroom's stem is often crucial in the identification process: the shape, dimensions, colors, and surface texture can all be important.

When collecting mushrooms with small, fragile stems for identification, be careful not to handle the stems fine details (an ephemeral ring zone, for example) can be accidentally obliterated with a slip of a finger.

The genus Psathyrella is known in part for its fragile, easily-snapped-in-two stems my friend Bob Zordani calls them "snapyrellas."

The Latin suffix &mdashipes indicates a mushroom's stem. Thus Retiboletus ornatipes has an ornate stem. The Latin prefis Caulo&mdash also refers to the stem "caulocystidia," for example, are cystidia on the stem surface.

The life cycle of some fungi involves both sexual and asexual stages. For such fungi the teleomorph is the sexual stage, while the anamorph is the asexual stage. In the teleomorphic stage sexual reproduction occurs through the production of sexual spores.

In older taxonomic schemes anamorphs and teleomorphs were sometimes placed in different genera, despite being life cycle stages of the same organism. For example, the anamorph to the left was often recognized as " Xylocoremium flabelliforme ," while its teleomorph was Xylaria cubensis . However, more current taxonomic rules disallow this practice, and the name Xylocoremium flabelliforme is now a deprecated synonym for Xylaria cubensis .

Trimitic Hyphal System See hyphae.

To increase the area of the spore-producing surface some mushrooms have developed the ingenious strategy of using tubes. Imagine covering the inside surface of a paper towel roll (the cardboard cylinder, once the roll is empty) with seeds&mdashthen affixing many such tubes to a flat surface. Now compare the number of seeds you would use to the number required to simply cover the flat surface itself. Many, many more seeds are involved with the tubes. Tube walls are usually fused lengthwise, but in Fistulina hepatica and Pseudofistulina radicata they are not fused and can be observed clearly as individual, discrete tubes. "Normal" bolete tubes are like the tubes pictured to the left and, when teased apart, they separate into packed sections. Another tube type is xerocomoid tubes.

Tubes are used by boletes and polypores, as well as a few other mushrooms, to hold the spore-producing basidia. At maturity the basidia release the spores, which fall out through the mouths of the tubes (the pores) and into air currents. (In the photo to the left the mushroom is turned upside down, so that the cap is on the bottom.)

Some polypores are long-lived and produce new tube layers annually. See the page for Ganoderma applanatum for an illustration.

Type Collection, Type Species

A type collection is the mushroom collection designated by the person who names a species as the representative collection for the species. Type collections are deposited in research collections of public museums or herbaria so that future scientists can refer to the original concept of a species. The type collection of Morchella prava is pictured to the left it is now deposited in the herbarium of the Field Museum of Natural History, in Chicago.

Strictly speaking, what I am calling a "type collection" is called the holotype collection , or just the holotype . There are other kinds of type collections: an isotype is a duplicate of the holotype (for example a collection made in the exact same location as the holotype) a paratype is an additional collection cited by the original author when she named the species and epitypes, neotypes , and lectotypes are various type collections used to correct the problem of a missing, problematic, or misunderstood holotype.

A type species is the species chosen by a mycologist to represent a genus. For example, Boletus edulis is the type species of the genus Boletus &mdashwhich is why only it and very similar, closely related species will retain the genus name Boletus as DNA studies sort out the rest of the former species of " Boletus ," which, it turns out, are not so closely related to Boletus edulis .

A universal veil is a protective layer of tissue that completely encloses a developing mushroom the universal veil of Coprinopsis variegata is illustrated to the left: the universal veil is just beginning to rupture on the closest specimen, and the grayish material underneath is the developing mushroom's cap, inside the veil.

The rupturing universal veil may disappear as the mushroom expands and matures, or it may result in warts or patches on the cap, and/or a volva at the stem base. A slime veil is a universal veil composed of gluten rather than tissue. An appendiculate cap has universal veil tissue hanging from its margin.

Many mushrooms display a universal veil, including Amanita species like Amanita muscaria , Volvariella species, and stinkhorns.

Developing mushrooms that are completely encased in a universal veil are sometimes mistaken for puffballs. However, slicing the mushroom open will quickly clear up confusion: while a developing mushroom can be easily seen in cross-section, a puffball's interior is either homogenous and fleshy, or there are two fleshy areas (the gleba and the sterile base).

Viscid is Mycologese for "slimy" or "sticky." Officially, a viscid surface is thinly slimy, while a thickly slimy surface is glutinous, but the distinction is iffy and often ignored.

A mushroom's surfaces&mdashespecially the cap and stem&mdashcan be slimy when the specimen is fresh, and the sliminess can be important in mushroom identification.

The problem is, mushrooms frequently dry out quickly, making it hard to tell whether it was once slimy. One clue involves appressed, dried out forest litter stuck to the cap surface. In the illustration to the left, leaf fragments are embedded in the gluten that makes the fresh cap of Hygrophorus paludosus slimy. Imagine what would happen if the cap were to dry out over the course of a few days: the leaf fragments would become stuck to the surface, even though the gluten has disappeared.

Under the microscope it is also possible to check the "slime factor" after a mushroom has dried out: slimy caps usually correspond with an ixocutis or ixotrichoderm.

Assessing the slime factor can be important in many kinds of mushrooms, but it is often involved with identification of russulas and species of Cortinarius and Suillus .

A volva is the remainder of a universal veil at the base of a mushroom's stem the volva results from the growing mushroom pushing through the veil. A mushroom with a volva is "volvate."

Volvas are found in Amanita , Volvariella and Volvopluteus , and the stinkhorns&mdashand occasionally elsewhere.

Volval anatomy is often crucial when identifying amanitas. The "classic" volva is prominent and sack-like, as in Amanita jacksonii or Amanita phalloides . However, volvas are diverse. In Amanita muscaria var. flavivolvata the volva consists of prominent concentric ringlets of tissue left at the top of the stem's basal bulb. Volvas can form a little roll of tissue at the top of the stem's bulb, in which case they are called limbate (the roll of tissue is a limb ) see Amanita multisquamosa for an example. In some species the volva is friable and breaks up into fragments of tissue that adhere to the stem base (or fall off onto the ground around the mushroom), as in Amanita flavoconia . And in some species the volva is barely discernible, left as a mere smear on the stem base, as in Amanita farinosa .

Warts are small, membranous remainders of a universal veil, left on the cap surface after the mushroom's growth has ruptured the veil and stretched it out. Warts are similar to patches, but they are smaller and more consistently arranged. Warts can be washed off with rain, making them a difficult feature to be sure of.

Warts are found in the genus Amanita , and occasionally elsewhere.

The mycelia of white rot fungi degrade lignin in the wood they inhabit, but not the cellulose, resulting in a characteristic whitish, stringy decay of the wood.

White rot fungi are usually found on the wood of hardwoods. Well-known white rot fungi include species of Armillaria , Pleurotus ostreatus , and Ganoderma applanatum .


Xerocomoid tubes on a species of Xerocomus

Some boletes have xerocomoid tubes&mdashmeaning the tubes are not easily separable if you try to tease them apart, they rip, rather than separating more or less easily into sections of packed-together tubes.

Xerocomoid tubes are primarily (but not exclusively) found in Xerocomus and Xerocomellus .

A zonate surface features concentric zones of color and/or texture, as in the cap of Lactarius indigo , illustrated to the left.

Usually it is the cap that is described as zonate, but sometimes mushrooms featured zonate flesh, as well (see for example Fomitopsis spraguei ).

This site contains no information about the edibility or toxicity of mushrooms.


Estimated areas with blastomycosis, coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever), and histoplasmosis

This map shows CDC&rsquos current estimates of where the fungi that cause blastomycosis, coccidioidomycosis (Valley fever), and histoplasmosis live in the environment in the United States. These fungi are not distributed evenly in the shaded areas, might not be present everywhere in the shaded areas, and can also be outside the shaded areas.

Anyone can get a fungal infection, even people who are otherwise healthy. People breathe in or come in contact with fungal spores every day without getting sick. However, in people with weak immune systems, these fungi are more likely to cause an infection. You can learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment of fungal infections and get prevention tips by visiting CDC&rsquos fungal diseases website and by talking with your healthcare provider.


Watch the video: The Discovery of Buckyballs Buckminsterfullerenes (May 2022).