Mushroom structure

In nature, there is a huge variety of mushrooms. To determine edibility, sometimes you need to know the structure of the fungus and other features.

Mushroom structure

Mushroom organism features

Mushrooms are united in a separate kingdom and occupy a special position in the system of the organic world, and their species number exceeds the figure of 100 thousand. Scientists suggest that in the near future at least 200, 000 more species will be described. The structure of the fungi is such that these organisms have characteristics that give them similarities with both the plant kingdom and the animal kingdom.

Similarities of mushrooms and plants

  • unlimited growth;
  • reproduction by spores;
  • the presence of a cell wall;
  • the presence of vacuoles in the cell;
  • attached lifestyle;
  • lack of a cell center;
  • nutrition through the absorption process, etc.

The similarities of mushrooms and animals:

  • heterotrophic nutrition;
  • reserve nutrient - glycogen;
  • the presence of chitin in the cell wall;
  • the presence of urea as a metabolic product;
  • lack of plastids;
  • the presence of lysosomes containing digestive enzymes;
  • the presence of small storage vacuoles.

The structure of mushrooms and their species is an important part of the science of mycology, which a simple mushroom picker needs to know about, so as not to confuse the edible and inedible species.

Mushroom structure

To correctly understand the role of this kingdom, it is necessary to study the structure and vital activity of mushrooms, all the elements of the internal and external structure of their body, as well as how interconnected they are.


The external structure of the fungus begins with its main component - mycelium (mycelium), or the vegetative body. It is a system of long threads located in a substrate (soil). The thread is called a hypha, it is impossible to see it with the naked eye. The clusters that form these microscopic hyphae become noticeable. We often see them as white (whitish) threads or cords.

Mycelium is of various forms, each of which performs separate functions:

  • rhizomorphs and sclerotia: ensuring a safe stage of dormancy;
  • cords and rhizoctonia: fastening to the soil and spreading;
  • stroma: creating conditions for the preservation of the dispute;
  • films: destruction and absorption of cellulose.

The mycelium is able to function for tens and hundreds of years, and the fruiting body (everything except mycelium) rarely lives more than 5-10 days. In severe frosts and droughts, the mycelium stops its work, goes into "mushroom hibernation", and then restores its vital activity. This is what ensures the long life of mycelium.

Irina Selyutina (Biologist):

According to the structure of the body, real mushrooms are divided into lower (with non-cellular mycelium) and higher (with cell mycelium), and in size - into macro- and. micromycetes.

Macromycetes are called fungi in which the fruiting body is located above the surface of the soil. The fruit body is such a formation of mycelium in which the formation and development of spores takes place. However, the bulk of the fungi are micromycetes, or microscopically small fungal organisms. If daughter cells after their formation are not separated from the mother, then a peculiar chain of physiologically independent organisms is gradually formed. The so-called pseudomycelia, such as in yeast.

Mushrooms have no tissue. In highly organized forms, hyphae often intertwine very densely and form a false tissue - plectenchyme, from which fruiting bodies form.


The hat is the most important thing in the mushroom

The hat is considered the main part of the fruiting body. Its main function is to form spores with organs located on its lower side, and in some from the upper. Spores are required for reproduction. On top is the skin, under it the flesh and hymenophore. Everyone who has ever gathered mushrooms in the forest knows that there are a variety of hat shapes. Mushroom caps are divided into 9 types according to their shape:

  • flat;
  • concave;
  • convex;
  • conical;
  • ovoid;
  • with a central tubercle;
  • bell-shaped;
  • spherical;
  • hemispherical.

The shape of the hat indicates age: young mushrooms usually have an egg-shaped or convex shape, and the hat of the old ones is concave or flat.

The edges and center of the apex are most susceptible to change.


The structure of mushrooms is difficult to imagine without the skin and pulp. The peel, or cuticle, covers the top of the cap and acts as a shell, protecting the mushrooms from external influences. It can consist of one or several (usually 3) layers.

People who do not understand mushrooms and their structure say that they can always tell by their color whether they are edible mushrooms or inedible ones. This does not work in all cases. Factors that indicate the condition of the shell and the edibility of the fetus include the color and nature of the surface. Different types have different colors: red, gray, white, brown, yellow and even green. The color of the cuticle depends on the pigments present in its cells.

Color changes with age and environmental conditions.

The nature of the surface is able to tell in what climate the formation of the structure of the fungus occurs. There are dry, mucous, scaly, fibrous surfaces, etc.


The pulp (context) in the structure of mushrooms is the inner layer of the fruiting body. This is a dead tissue, or tram, formed during the activity of sterile hyphae. The pulp is used to find out whether poisonous mushrooms or not.

Raw flesh is usually tasteless, but sometimes it is slightly bitter or sweet. The smell depends on the structural features of the mushrooms. It can be mushroom, ink or flour. The color of the pulp is whitish or gray. The context is thin and fleshy. The pulp in a number of species is a container for milky juice.

The consistency also provides information on the structure of the mushrooms and is divided into woody, fleshy and cartilaginous. The most solid base are mushrooms with a woody consistency.


The structure of mushrooms is very complex

Gimenofor - part in the structure of the caps of an adult mushroom. It contains a spore-bearing layer, or hymenia, which allows you to create more spores for subsequent reproduction.

When studying the structure of mushrooms, it is taken into account that the hymenophore consists of various kinds of formations. There are such types of it: tubules, plates, spikes and needles. They are located vertically, the lower part is a group of holes, from which spores later pour out.

Types of hymenophores are determined by the general structure and activity of fungi. The most common types are:

  • smooth;
  • lamellar;
  • folded;
  • tubular;
  • prickly.

Differing in their structure, all types of hymenophores are intended for only one thing - the attachment of a spore-bearing layer (hymenia) to it.


Mushroom spores originating in special spore receptacles are referred to structural features of the fungus. Tubular and lamellar species form spores on the walls of the formations themselves. Spores are unicellular. Often they are carried away by the wind over long distances.

In aquatic mushrooms, spores have devices for movement in a liquid medium - flagella. This allows them to move independently in the aquatic environment. Such spores are formed in zoosporangia and are characteristic of the asexual reproduction of many lower fungi.

Their survival and ability to adapt to the environment are noted. For example, in order to survive, late blight from a number of parasitic species hibernates on infected tubers. And pathogenic classes are resistant to physical and chemical disinfectants. By such processes they ensure their existence for a long period. Therefore, it can be difficult to get rid of parasites.


The basis of hat mushrooms and their structure is the leg, because it performs a supporting function. In the substrate, it combines with mycelium. There are cylindrical, spindle-shaped and swollen forms (in different parts, but more often at the base) of the legs. By their consistency, they are dense, hollow and with a loose core. There are various types of surfaces: smooth, mesh, scaly and velvety.

Edible mushrooms

Information on the features of the structure and vital activity of mushrooms will help to understand whether edible mushrooms or not. Systematics emit edible, conditionally edible, inedible and poisonous mushrooms. The latter is strictly prohibited, and the use of the second group starts undesirable processes in the body.

To understand whether the mushrooms found are poisonous is difficult. It is better to find illustrations of individual species before going to the forest. There are myths and misconceptions regarding the description of edible species:

  1. “When cooking, toxicity disappears, is digested, evaporates, if you add salt and vinegar to the water.” The described method is used only when working with conditionally edible species, and not with poisonous ones.
  2. “If the thrown bulb turns blue during cooking, it means there is poison among the mushrooms.” Bulbs often turn blue for a number of other reasons related to their own characteristics. The same applies to souring milk, in which the "suspicious" mushroom is dipped.
  3. "Poisonous mushrooms do not have a pleasant taste or smell." One of the most dangerous mushrooms - white toadstool and amanita panther - has a good aftertaste and smell, so in mushroom business you should not trust the taste sensations and aroma.
  4. “There are no parasites in inedible species.” Poisonous species suffer from parasites much more often than edible ones.


People who understand the structure of mushrooms are more likely to confuse edible mushrooms with poisonous ones. Before going to the forest, you should familiarize yourself with the features of the mushroom kingdom and the structure of these organisms.


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