Fruit body structure
Hope the drawings are clear. I did
my own diagrams rather than worry about using any other sources.
||The drawing on the right shows a mushroom
fruit body possessing most of the features you will find on a mushroom
growing in the wild. However, not all mushrooms have all these features.
The cap: Can be shaped
differently depending on the species and the stage of growth. It can be
conical, flat or even spherical. The surface can be smooth, hairy or
carry scab like fragments which are usually remnants of a universal veil
if one was present.
The Gills: Usually present
on the lower surface of the cap and composed of many thin layers stacked
side by side. Some mushrooms will have pores instead of gills. These are
tiny tubes packed closely together forming a sponge layer. Or the
underside of the cap maybe smooth, wrinkled or veined. Whichever form it
takes, this is where the spores are produced.
stem: Some mushrooms do not have a stem. The one in the
above diagram has a ring or skirt below the cap, this is all that
remains of the protective cover for the gills called a veil, which
protects the gills when young. As the cap expands or grows, the veil
ruptures leaving the skirt like ring on the stem. This can be very
obvious in some species and barely visible in others. There is another
type of veil occurring in some species called a universal veil. This
covers the whole mushroom as it emerges from the ground, and as it
grows, the veil breaks leaving behind the Volva or cup seen in the above
diagram. Remnants of this type of veil can also been seem on the upper
surface of the cap in some species.
This diagram represents one of the more complex structures. Mushrooms
with all the above features belong to the famous Amanita group which includes
the most famous and probably the most photographed and illustrated
mushroom the fly agaric.
Variation on the above structure are numerous, the veils can be
absent or hihger or lower on the stem, it could be obvious or very hard
to see, tough or cobweby....etc.
Mushroom Life Cycle
||Well, this is it!!
The mushroom life cycle simplified.It all starts when the spores are
released from the gills, (or whichever surface the mushroom happens to
carry spores on). Millions of spores are released into the elements,(air,
water, animals..) these spores are dispersed by various methods,
(depending on the kind of mushroom).
When the conditions are right, the spores germinate sending out tiny
threads called hyphae (single: hypha). In order for the hyphae to
develop and eventually produce a mushroom it has to find other hyphae
that are compatible. When two compatible hyphae meet, they fuse together
to form a network or threads called a mycelium. This mycelium eventually
forms what is known as a hyphal knot which grows and develops into a
pinhead which in turn grows and develops into a mushroom and then it all