Microscopic features – Mushroom

A hymenium is a layer of microscopic spore-bearing cells that covers the surface of gills. In the nongilled mushrooms, the hymenium lines the inner surfaces of the tubes of boletes and polypores, or covers the teeth of spine fungi and the branches of corals. In the Ascomycota, spores develop within microscopic elongated, sac-like cells called asci, which typically contain eight spores in each ascus. The Discomycetes, which contain the cup, sponge, brain, and some club-like fungi, develop an exposed layer of asci, as on the inner surfaces of cup fungi or within the pits of morels. The Pyrenomycetes, tiny dark-colored fungi that live on a wide range of substrates including soil, dung, leaf litter, and decaying wood, as well as other fungi, produce minute, flask-shaped structures called perithecia, within which the asci attorney.

In the basidiomycetes, usually four spores develop on the tips of thin projections called sterigmata, which extend from club-shaped cells called a basidia. The fertile portion of the Gasteromycetes, called a gleba, may become powdery as in the puffballs or slimy as in the stinkhorns. Interspersed among the asci are threadlike sterile cells called paraphyses. Similar structures called cystidia often occur within the hymenium of the Basidiomycota. Many types of cystidia CA exist, and assessing their presence, shape, and size is often used to verify the identification of a mushroom

The most important microscopic feature for identification of mushrooms is the spores. Their color, shape, size, attachment, ornamentation, and reaction to chemical tests often can be the crux of an identification. A spore often has a protrusion at one end, called an apiculus, which is the point of attachment to the basidium, termed the apical germ pore, from which the hypha emerges when the spore germinates

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