spores that are tiny reproductive cells. They contain all the genetic material for a new mushroom fruiting body. They are released into the environment by a mushroom cap and carried away by wind, water or insects.
Spores are not very big or visible to the naked eye and can be hard to identify unless they’re seen under a microscope. They come in a range of colors, including white, yellow, brown, purple, green, red and rusty-brown.
Taking a Spore Print
The most common way to identify a mushroom is by taking a spore print. To make a spore print, you need to cut off the stem of the mushroom and then place the mushroom’s cap on a piece of paper or aluminum foil with its gills facing down. You can also use a glass or microscope slide.
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The spores fall out of the mushroom onto the paper, causing a spore print pattern. The spores can be white, brown, pink or black. Some spores are smooth, while others have ornamentation like ridges, pits or other features. For a more thorough analysis of the spores, you may want to use a compound microscope. With a compound microscope, you can observe the shape, size and color of spores, which can be helpful for identifying mushrooms.