A mushroom is the fleshy, spore-bearing fruiting body of a fungus, typically produced above ground on soil or on its food source.
The standard for the name “mushroom” is the cultivated white button mushroom, Agaricus bisporus; hence the word “mushroom” is most often applied to those fungi (Basidiomycota, Agaricomycetes) that have a stem (stipe), a cap (pileus), and gills (lamellae, sing. lamella) on the underside of the cap. These gills produce microscopic spores that help the fungus spread across the ground or its occupant surface.
I’ll show you how to see spores without a microscope.
Things you’ll need: A fresh mushroom from a forest (mushrooms from the market wouldn’t work), a cup, and a piece of paper.
- Take the cap off the stem of a mushroom (be careful, wear gloves while you’re doing this).
- Lay the the cap of the mushroom onto the piece of paper.
- Cover the mushroom with the cup on the piece of paper.
- Wait for 24 hours.
- Take the cup and the mushroom off the paper and observe the paper.
The spores of the mushroom will stick to the paper.