Glossary of Mycological Terms

Abhymenial surface: The sterile upper surface of an effused-reflexed fungus. See basidiocarp.

Abrupt: Without a thin, sterile margin. See margin.

Adnate: Attached to the substrate. See basidiocarp.

Amyloid: Reacting bluish or greyish in Melzer's reagent. Inamyloid refers to the lack of such a reaction. See Melzer's reagent.

Anamorph: Asexual stage of a fungus.

Apiculate: With a well defined apiculus.

Apiculus: Short protrusion at the base of a basidiospore where the basidiospore attaches to the sterigmatum. See basidiospore.

Aphyllophorales: Obsolete taxonomic category for homobasidiomycetes without gills, which included crust fungi, polypores, coral mushrooms, and others, but excluded puffballs, which were given there own category called Gasteromycetales.

Basidium (plural: basidia): The sexually reproductive cell characteristic of fungi in the phylum Basidiomycota (and therefore, all crust fungi) where karyogamy of the two haploid nuclei and meiosis occurs leading to the production of basidiospores. Basidia vary enormously in their form, but they all have sterigmata (horn-like projections on the apical part of basidia, usually with four sterigmata per basidium but varying from one to eight) upon which basidiospores are formed like inflating balloons. The following terms are used to describe the variation in basidia:

Basidiospore: The sexual, propagative spore of basidiomycete fungi. Basidiospores are produced via meiosis and are born on the sterigmata of basidia, usually in groups of one, but varying between one and eight. Their form, ornamentation, color, and number are all important for species identification and delimitation.

Bulbil: See margin.

Basidiocarp (plural: basidiocarps): Also called basidiome, basidioma (plural: basidiomata), fruiting body, or mushroom, the basidiocarp is the macroscopic reproductive structure of basidiomycete fungi. Basidiocarps are highly variable in size, shape, texture, and color. They are often annual (persisting for less than one year) but some are perennial (persisting for multiple years). Resupinate basidiocarps consist of a hymenium (outermost fertile layer with the basidia and sterile structures such as cystidia) and subiculum (sterile tissue between the hymenium and the substrate, sometimes called trama or context when very compact or when the crust is pileate).

Capitate: With a widened, globose apical part.

Chlamydospore: An asexual, restive spore with thick walls to survive unfavorable environmental conditions.

Clamp connection: Buckle-like connection spanning the septum dividing two hyphae, characteristic of dikaryotic hyphae of most basidiomycetes. Clamps can be simple, double, or verticillate.

Conidium (plural: conidia): Asexual spore.

Context: The inner part of a pileate basidiocarp, below the subhymenium. See basidiocarp.

Corticioid fungus: Also called crust or crust fungus, a corticioid fungus is a basidiomycete with an effused basidiocarp; a smooth, meruloid, or hydnoid hymenophore; and holobasidia.

Cuticle: Layer of specialized hyphae present in the upper sterile surface of pileate basidiocarps.

Cyanophilous: Blue staining of the cell walls or cytoplasm in cotton blue mounting medium.

Cystidium: A sterile cell, embedded or projecting from the hymenium, differently shaped from the basidia.

Cystidiole: A hymenial sterile cell of the same size as the basidia, even with or projecting above the basidial layer.

Dextrinoid: Reacting reddish brown in Melzer's reagent. Indextrinoid refers to the lack of such a reaction. See Melzer's reagent.

Dimitic: Hyphal system consisting of two different types of hyphae: generative hyphae and skeletal (structural hyphae that are usually unbranched, aseptate, and thick-walled) or binding hyphae (connecting structural hyphae that are highly branched, aseptate, and usually thick-walled). Whether a specimen is monomitic (only possessing generative hyphae), dimitic, or even trimitic (having generative, skeletal, and binding hyphae) is sometimes unclear and up to interpretation.

Echinocyst: A sterile structure consisting of a rounded bladder covered with sparse, blunt projections.

Hyaline: Transparent and colorless.

Hyphal cords: Bundles of aggregated hyphae at the margins of resupinate basidiocarps. See margin.

Hymenium: See basidiocarp.

Margin: The outer edge of a basidiocarp. The following terms are used to describe the margin:

Melzer's reagent: Iodine solution to assess whether a basidiocarp is amyloid or dextrinoid.

Pileate: Possessing a cap, or pileus. See basidiocarp.

Pleurobasidium (plural: pleurobasidia): See basidium.

Repetobasidium (plural: repetobasidia): See basidium.

Sclerotium (plural: sclerotia): See margin.

Sterigmatum (plural: sterigmata): See basidium.

Subiculum: See basidiocarp.

Trama: See basidiocarp.


Bernicchia, A. & S.P. Gorjón. (2010). Corticiaceae s.l. Fungi Europaei n˚12. Ed. Massimo Candusso, Italia.

Jülich, W. (1980). The Resupinate Non-poroid Aphyllophorales of the Temperate Northern Hemisphere. North-Holland Publishing Company.

Kuo, M. & Methven, A.S. Mushrooms of the Midwest. University of Illinois Press, 2014.

Larsson, K.-H. (2007). Re-thinking the classification of corticioid fungi. Mycological Research, 111(9), 1040-1063.