mushroom spores are the reproductive cells that are present on mushroom caps and stems. When they’re in a healthy state, a single gill can release a few thousand spores, which are dispersed along wind currents and into moist soils where they can germinate.
Spore Colour: Many mushrooms can be easily identified by their spore colour, which can help identify the species they belong to. This can be done by making a “spore print” from a mushroom cap and can be very helpful in mycology.
Understanding the Basics of Mushroom Spores: A Comprehensive Guide
To make a spore print, remove the stipe (stem) of a mushroom and place it on a piece of spore-print paper or card. Leave the cap on the paper with the gills facing down and leave it for 24 hours, then gently lift it off the paper. The spore print will reflect the gill pattern on the mushroom cap and this can be very useful in identification.
Growing Mushrooms From Spores
Once a suitable medium is sterilised, or inoculated with spores, a network of branching white filaments called mycelium will grow in a nutrient-rich, oxygen-rich environment. This process is often referred to as mushroom cultivation and can be an excellent way to learn about mushroom biology.
The process can be challenging, however. Sterility is vital as spores can quickly be colonized by bacteria and mold, which can cause the mushrooms to fruit or fail to grow at all.
If you’re interested in growing mushrooms from spores, it’s important to research your own state’s laws before attempting this type of cultivation. Currently, 47 states prohibit the sale of spores for recreational use to people under 18.