The Mushroom Life Cycle

Posted by Mushbox Admin on 1/9/2011 to What you need to know
What came first the, the mushroom or the spores?
Depending on the actual type and species of mushroom you want to learn about there maybe vast differences in the actual process but the explanation below is similar to most edible and medicinal mushrooms that people grow from home.
Mushrooms produce spores and drop them onto the ground and in the air to spread. They are basically the seeds and are used to spread the next generation of fungi. The spores are released and drop to the surface and make contact with moisture on the ground or humidity in the air.  The spores sink down into the soil and begin to germinate producing mycelium.  The mycelium grows into a larger mass and spreads out, searching for nutrients and moisture, colonizing its environment and consuming the substrate or soil around it.

Life Cycle of Mushrooms

Once the mycelium has grown enough to break through the surface it is exposed to sunlight and initiates the next process of growth were the actual mushrooms will begin to form.  The temperature of the environment and the amount of light exposure will determine when the mushrooms will being fruiting and each species has its own parameters for growth.  Once these specific settings are achieved pinheads will start to form.
Shortly after the pinheads will grow into fully mature mushrooms with stems and caps, the caps will stretch out and open revealing the gills underneath.  The gills are were the spores are collected before being released and are held in by a thin layer of mushroom skin called the "veil".  Once the mushroom cap grows large enough it will tear the veil releasing the spores and repeating the entire cycle.
Please know that this description is very basic and an attempt at keeping it simple.  There is much more detail and amazing events that occur in the life cycle of mushrooms and there is thousands of different species each with there own unique take on the process.  If you are interested in learning more about this process please consider reading some of the books available on this website or checkout the mushroom community forums at
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Date 8/7/2012 7:23:00 AM
want to grow mushrooms pse advice about the basics
Date 9/23/2012 4:59:00 AM
Date 6/9/2013
so what came first?
Date 3/23/2014
jason fish
Do mushrooms that get wet during growth and turns green. Is it dead? How much should be removed? Should I just toss it all?
Date 12/8/2014
christina morgan
I'm understanding the cycle of growth; if indeed the spores are released during the cycle, does it not spread the spores elsewhere? Like on the ground, the wood framing, other mushrooms nearby as contaminated by mixing spores at some point?
Date 11/21/2015
Hi i so want to grow mushrooms. But i cant seems to gat any spores from the anyone around here. U think i can get the spores from the freshly picked mushrooms and if so what is the best way to get the spores? Another question i have this mushroom growing in my garden. Do you think u can identify it and say whether its edible?
Date 11/21/2015
Please tell me what this mushroom is and whether its edible?

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