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Fungi of Saskatchewan
Picture of Aminita muscaria
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Glossary of terms. See also a Pictorial Glossary for shapes and for some mushroom characteristics at the bottom of this page.

Adnate – gills on a mushroom attached broadly/squarely to the stem (see picture glossary)
Adnexed – only a small part of the gills on a mushroom attached to the stem (see picture glossary)
Aecio- -- prefix meaning cup
Alveolate – like a honeycomb
Amyloid – turning blue-black to dark violet upon exposure to iodine stain or Melzer's reagent (see also dextrinoid)
Angiocarpous – describing a sporocarp that is closed at least until the spores are mature
Annulus – the "ring"; a band of tissue encircling the stem of a mushroom (e. g. commercial button mushrooms), sometimes movable
Apex – tip
Apical, at the tip (opposite of basal – at the base)
Apo- – prefix meaning open, e. g. apothecium – open disk-like ascoma

Appendiculate – with fragments of the veil of a mushroom hanging to the cap edge
Arthropods – animals with exoskeletons, such as insects and spiders and crabs
Asco- – prefix meaning sack
Ascocarp – ascus bearing structure of an ascomycete
Ascoma (-ta) – ascus bearing structure of an ascomycete
Ascus – sack-like structure containing the sexual spores of ascomycetes

Attached – gills fastened to the stem of a mushroom (see gill attachment)
Auto- – prefix meaning self
Basal – at the base (opposite of apical)
Basidio- – prefix meaning small pedestal
Basidium – structure producing the sexual spores of basidiomycetes. Two major kinds, distinguished by lacking (holobasidia) or having (heterobasidia) septa.
Binding hyphae (in basidiomata) – thick walled, highly branched, aseptate, interwoven, narrow, binding generative and skeletal hyphae together.
Boletoid – shape of a bolete spore, here, Boletus russellii

Campanulate – bell shaped, typically describing mushroom caps (see picture glossary)
Cap – the expanded, upper part of the mushroom; whose surface is the pileus
Cartilaginous – tough-brittle, making a noise when broken
Central – describing mushroooms – with stem attached at the centre of the cap
Circinate – twisted round, coiled
Clavate – club shaped, widest at the tip (see picture glossary)
Cleisto- – prefix meaning closed
Confluent – for mushrooms – tissues of cap and stem alike and continuous so that cap and stem are not easily separated. Typical of Cantharellus (chantarelles)
Conic – roughly cone-shaped, generally for mushroom caps
Context (in basidiomata) – tissue type in hymenomycetes (Holobasidiomycetes). The hyphal mass between the upper surface of the basidiocarp and the fertile layer of cells (gills, pores, teeth). The "meat" of the cap of a mushroom, or the middle of a bracket

Convex – somewhat the shape of a half-circle, regularly rounded on top (as in the diagram above)
Coprophilous – living on dung (syn. fimicolous)
Corti- – prefix meaning bark
Cortina – a cobwebby, veil-like structure extending from cap margin to stem but soon disappearing (see picture glossary)
Cuticle – skin of a mushroom cap or stem
Cylindrical – having the shape of a cylinder (see picture glossary)
Decurrent – describing mushroom gills as running down the stem (see picture glossary)
Deliquescing – dissolving and falling to the ground as drops of liquid, e. g. Coprinus caps
Dendroid – treelike in form
Dentate – toothed (see picture glossary)
Denticle– short toothlike projection
Depressed – with the central part sunken below the level of the margin (see picture glossary)
Dextrinoid – turning red-purple upon exposure to iodine or Melzer's reagent (see also amyloid)
Dichotomous – divided into two
Didymospore – a two-celled spore
Dimidiate – semi-circular in outline (see picture glossary)
Dimitic (in basidiomata) – sporocarps with two kinds of hyphae, generative and skeletal
Dung – manure
Eccentric – not attached in the center
Ellipsoid – elliptical, with both ends similar (see ovoid)
Elongate – not globose, but this term does not specify a particular shape
Emarginate – notched next to the stem, typically describing mushroom gills (see picture glossary)
Eu- – prefix meaning true
Evanescent – soon disappearing
Falcate – curved like a sickle or new moon (see picture glossary)
Fertile – able to produce spores
Fibrils – small flecks or strands of fibrous material
Fibrillose – covered with or containing fibrils
Fibrous – tough, stringy, not breaking straight across
Filiform – threadlike (see picture glossary)
Fimbriate – with hairs
Fimicolous – living on dung (syn. coprophilous)
Fleshy – rather soft, putrescent, spongy; often describing mushroom caps
Floccose –with cottony material on the surface
Fragile – easily broken
Free – mushrooms with gills entirely unattached to the stem (see Gill attachment)
Furcate – forked (see picture glossary)
Fusoid -– somewhat fusiform
Fusiform – spindle shaped, narrowing at each end
Gelatinous – the consistence of jelly. Subgelatinous is firm jelly.
Generative hyphae (in basidiomata) – thin walled, branched, usually septate but with or without clamp connections, giving rise to other kinds of hyphae in the basidiocarp, as well as to the hymenium
Germ pore – special region of the spore from which germination occurs, often appearing a s a circle on the spore wall
Gills – blade-like structures on the underside of mushroom caps in agarics
Gill attachment (see picture glossary)
Gill spacing (see picture glossary)
Globose – spherical or nearly so
Gymnocarpus -– having the primordium and mature sporocarp with an exposed hymenium
Helicospore – cylindrical spiral spore, one or more cells
Hemiangiocarpous – sporocarp opening before spores are quite mature
Hetero- – prefix meaning other
Heteromerous – containing cells with distinctive textures (e. g. in Russula, spherical cells and hyphae intermixed; in Lactarius, +/– latex bearing hyphae)
Holomorph –all forms produced by a species during its life cycle = anamorph + teleomorph
Homo- – prefix meaning same
Homomerous/homiomerous – composed of one type of cell
Homoiomerous – of a lichen thallus, having the fungal and algal components intermixed throughout
Homothallism – self-fertility
Hyaline – devoid of colour
Hyalo- – prefix meaning colourless. Note – spores are considered to be pigmented if the walls appear dark either individually or within a mass.
Hyalospore – one-celled conidium devoid of colour (if coloured, a phaeospore)
Hygrophanous – appearing water-soaked, especially of mushroom caps
Hymenium – fertile layer of a sporocarp, for example on ascomata and basidiomata
Hyphal analysis –(in basidiomata) descriptions of the development and structure of the sporocarps of higher fungi based on a paper by Corner, 1932, Transactions of the British Mycological Society 17:51 (TBMS, now Mycological Research) Basidiocarps are defined by the number of types of hyphae they contain: monomitic, dimitic trimitic see individual entries for definitions)
Incurved – with the margin (usually of a mushroom cap) turning inward toward the stem
Indusium – the skirt under the head of certain stinkhorns
Inrolled – with the edge (usually of a mushroom cap) rolling up on the side next to the stem
Intercalary – between base and apex
Lamella (-ae) – a single leaf (or leaves) of a gill
Lateral – a mushroom stipe attached to one side of the cap, e. g. Pleurotus
Lignicolous – growing on wood
Lenticular – lens shaped (see picture glossary)
Membranous – like a membrane; thin and flexible, or pliant
Meristem – actively dividing cells
Meristem arthrospore – one of a chain of conidia maturing in basipetal succession, and originating by meristematic growth of the apical region of the conidiophore, but not from a phialide, e. g. Oidium
–merous – suffix meaning part (e. g. trimerous means in three parts)
Monomitic: (in basidiomata) sporocarp with one kind of hypha – generative
Mushroom – the reproductive body of certain basidiomycetes; typically consists of cap, stem and gills
Mutualism – "living together" of unlike species to their mutual benefit, e. g. mycorrhizae, lichens.
Mycelium (-ia) – a mass of hyphae, with or without septa
Non-amyloid – not changing colour in response to iodine (Melzer's reagent) but staying yellow-brown to brown
Obclavate – club shaped, but widest at the base (see clavate)
Obconic -– not quite conical
Obovoid – like ovoid (hen’s egg shape) but narrow end at the base
Obtuse – rounded or blunt
Ochre – dingy-yellowish
-oecious – suffix meaning house
Ontogeny – development
Operculum – a round apical lid, on an ascus tip of certain species
Ovoid – like a hen’s egg, with one end narrower than the other, wide end at the base (see obovoid and ellipsoid, and picture glossary)
Para- – prefix meaning beside
-physis – suffix meaning growth
Paraphyses – sterile determinate hyphae that separate asci in some ascomata
Parasitic – living on or within another organism and obtaining nutrients at the expense of that organism (see mutualistic and symbiotic)
Per- – prefix meaning 'more than'
Peri- – prefix meaning around
Persistent – remaining for a long time
Phaeo- – prefix meaning coloured. Note – spores are considered to be pigmented if the walls appear dark either separate or within a mass.
Phaeospore – coloured one-celled spore
Phago- prefix meaning to eat
Pseudo – prefix meaning false
Pileus – surface covering of a mushroom cap
Pip-shaped – like an apple seed (see picture glossary)
-podium – suffix meaning foot
Pore – structure in the tips of some asci, often containing starch

Pro- – prefix meaning before
Pseudo- – prefix meaning false
Pyriform – pear-shaped
Recurved – curved with the outside of the curve expanded (like a sickle, or a new moon)
Resupinate – upside down; the gills face outward, and the "upper surface" rests on the substrate; e.g. the gills of Schizophyllum
Reviving – having the property of expanding to normal shape and size when moistened
Rhizoid – a root-like structure, a filamentous branchike extension for feeding rather than reproduction
Ring – annulus (see picture glossary)
Sapro- – prefix meaning rotten
Saprobic / saprophytic gaining nutrients from dead material
Saxi- – prefix meaning rock
Scolecospores – filiform (threadlike) spores
Seceding – at first attached to the stem but later separating from it
Secession – release, breaking off, separating of spores from sporogenous cells
Separable – easily separated or dis-joined
Serrate – with the edge broken or notched so as to resemble the toothed edge of a saw (see picture glossary)
Sessile – without a stem; attached directly to the substrate
Setae – bristles
Shelving – attached to an object by the side of the cap and forming a shelf, like a bracket
Silky – covered with shiny, close-set fibrils
Simple – opposite of branched
Sinuate – with a U-shaped indentation next to the stem (see picture glossary)
Skeletal hyphae (in basidiomata) – thick walled, branched or unbranched, aseptate, straight or slightly flexuous, with thin-walled apices
Spore – general term for a reproductive structure of fungi, that does not contain an embryo. In fungi, spores may be single or multicelled.
Spore colour – In mushrooms, spore colour is diagnostic, and can be determined by placing a severed cap right-side up on a white or black paper and covering with a tumbler; usually after a few hours many spores will have fallen
Sp(p) – abbreviation for species, singular and plural
Stalked – with a stem
Stellate – star-shaped
Stipe – stalk of a mushroom
Stroma – fused mass of hyphae appearing as a tissue
Stuffed – filled with a soft, rather cottony center that usually disappears in mature specimens, typical of the stems of certain mushroom species
Sub- – a prefix meaning "somewhat"
Subglobose – nearly but not completely spherical
Subhyaline – not quite colourless, but not strongly pigmented, e.g., conidia/conidiophores of Aspergillus nidulans
Subtending – extending from underneath
Symbiosis – "living together" of unlike species to their mutual benefit, e. g. mycorrhizae, lichens
Teleomorph – sexual stage in a fungal life cycle (nonsexual stage is the anamorph)
Terri- – prefix meaning earth
Terrestrial – on the ground
Throughout – in all parts of the structure
Thallus – vegetative body, typically a mycelial, and typically non-motile
-thecium – suffix meaning case
Trama – the inner tissue of the cap or gill
Trichodermium – describing the caps of boletes, where hairs project from the surface, giving a velvety appearance if dry
Trimitic (in basidiomata) – Sporocarp with three kinds of hyphae: generative, skeletal, and binding
Unitunicate – asci with a single membrane layer, sometimes with a pore structure or operculum (lid)
Verticilliate – having parts in rings or whorls
Vesiculose – with a delicate, bubbly or foamy texture
Viscid – slimy
Whorl – a ring, one turn of a spiral
Zygo- – prefix meaning yoke; a paired structure

Pictorial Glossary

Pictorial key to shapes, modified from Ainsworth and Bisby, 1971. Figures 1-32 represent three-dimensional structures

Shapes based on the sphere and ellipsoids, distinguished by the ratio of a:b.
1:1 globose or spherical
1:2 subglobose or prolate spheroidal
1:3 broadly ellipsoidal (sub-prolate) to ellipsoidal (prolate)
1:4 oval (per-prolate)
1:5 fusiform

2 filiform
3 acerose
4 cylindrical
, restricted to shapes where length to width is 2:1 to 3:1
      4a bacilliform
      4b with rounded apices
      4c with truncated apices
5 discoid or lenticular
      5a in surface view
      5b discoid in side view
      5c lenticular in side view
6 sigmoid
7 reniform (fabiform)
8 allantoid
9 lunate (crescentic)
10 falcate

11 ovoid
12 obovoid
13 lecythiform
14 pyriform
15 obpyriform
16 clavate
17 obclavate
18 capitate
19 spathulate

20 bicampanulate
21 turbinate
22 quadrangular (rhomboidal)
23 cunieform
24 dolabriform
25 campanulate
26 napiform
27 biconic

28 lageniform
29 peltate
30 ampulliform
31 doliiform
32 cymbiform (navicular)

33 acicular
34 subulate
35 hamate (uncinulate)
36 corniform
37 circinate
38 ventricose
      39 mucronate
      40 papillate
      41 acute

Margins (edges)
      42 sinuate
      43 crenate
      44 crenulate
      45 dentate
      46 serrate
      47 laciniate


Mushroom morphology

The following diagrams are modified from Lincoff, G. H. 1981 National Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms. Alfred A. Knopf, New York. ISBN 0-394-51992-2

Mushroom cap shapes

Mushroom cap surfaces

Gill spacing

Gill tissue arrangements

Gill attachment to stalk

Annular rings