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Fungi Spores *

Time Required Very Long (1+ months)
Prerequisites None
Material Availability This project requires access to a place where mushrooms grow wildly (and you have permission to harvest them) or the purchase of a mushroom growing kit from an online vendor.
Cost Low ($20 - $50)
Safety Do not eat any mushrooms that you find growing in the wild.
*Note: This is an abbreviated Project Idea, without notes to start your background research, a specific list of materials, or a procedure for how to do the experiment. You can identify abbreviated Project Ideas by the asterisk at the end of the title. If you want a Project Idea with full instructions, please pick one without an asterisk.


Mushrooms are not plants, but are fungi. Fungi include mushrooms, molds, and lichen. They do not produce seeds to reproduce like some plants. Fungi produce spores, like more primitive plants do. The spores of a mushroom are contained in the tiny folds around the stem underneath the mushroom cap. Different species of mushrooms have different types of spores, with different colors and different patterns of folds. You can make mushroom prints by removing the stem from a mushroom and placing the cap on a white piece of paper, leaving it undisturbed overnight. In the morning you can carefully lift the cap to see a design left by the release of the tiny spores. What do the spore patterns from different species of mushrooms look like? You can collect the spores from different species and try to propagate them in a nutrient rich humus or manure. Which species are easiest to propagate? Do mushrooms need the same things as plants to grow? (Gardner & Webster, 1987, 42)

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Last edit date: 2014-06-27


Gardner, R. and Webster, D. 1987. Science in Your Backyard. New York, NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

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I did this project I Did This Project! Please log in and let us know how things went.

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