Orange-yellow Marasmius

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Introduction

Parts of a Mushroom

Specific Species

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Introduction

The Fungi Kingdom contains organisms that differ from plants by the  fact that their cell walls contain chitin (C8H13O5N)n instead of cellulose (C6H10O5)n and they also lack chlorophyll and generally reproduce by spores. Fungi are more related to animals than plants in that some animals, like lobsters, have chitin in their shells. The word "chitin" derives from the Greek word for mollusk. Scientists estimate that there are over 1.5 million species of fungi, which includes yeasts and molds as well as mushrooms. The discussions of fungi on this website will be mostly discussions of mushrooms.

Fungi play an important role in the environment. They help decompose organic matter, provide nutrients for some plants and food for animals. Many drugs are made from fungi. However, many fungi are also poisonous. The large number of species presents a problem with definitive identification because many species appear very much alike. Microscopic examination is often necessary to make a definitive identification. Some poisonous fungi resemble eatable fungi. Some people may also be allergic to the exotic chemicals in fungi. DO NOT gather and consume fungi unless you are absolutely certain of the species. The information on this website is not sufficient to differentiate species. The fungi you consume as a gastronomical treat or to create an altered state of consciousness may be the last thing you do. The term toadstool generally refers to a poisonous mushroom.

Fungi are very important in that they create chemicals capable of breaking down lignin a polymer and component in wood. Lignin decomposes under bacterial action very slowly. However, fungi secrete chemicals that accelerate the decomposition of lignin.

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Parts of a Mushroom

The photograph above shows the top of a mushroom called the cap. The central portion of the cap is called the disc. The mushroom in the above photograph has a raised portion in the center called a knob. There is a sunken ring around the knob. The edge of the cap is called the margin. These parts of a mushroom cap will have characteristics that help identify the mushroom. The fruiting body of a fungus is the reproductive part of the fungus and is usually above ground.

The photograph below shows the underside of the mushroom cap shown above. The ribs or blades shown in the photograph are called gills. Spores, primitive reproductive cells, are formed in these gills.  Mushrooms with gills on the underside of a cap are said to be agaric. Not all mushrooms have gills. Spores are produced in hollow cylinders called tubes in some fungi.  The fertile surface or hymenium of a mushroom is where spores are generated. The spacing of the gills or characteristics of the hymenium are helpful in mushroom identification. The stalk of the mushroom is the part of the mushroom between the cap and the root system in the ground. Gills may be free or attached to the stalk. This stalk may be surrounded by tissues called rings. The veil of a mushroom is a tissue that covers the immature parts of some mushrooms. The veil is universal if it covers the entire mushroom. If the veil covers only the gills or tubes, it is said to be a partial veil. Rings are formed when the veil ruptures. The manner in which stalks attach to the cap, gills attach to the stalk, rings surround the stalk and the shape of the stalk base help differentiate between species.

 

Orange-yellow Marasmius Gills

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Specific Species

Click on the photograph or name of a specific species below to view a detailed description of that species.

New species will be added as information becomes available.

Emetic Russula
Emetic Russula
Orange-yellow Marasmius
Orange-yellow Marasmius
Short-stalked White Russula
Short-stalked White Russula
   
         

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