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Mushroom Life Cycle

The fascinating life cycle of a mushroom is much different than most other things on earth. Mushrooms start as spores. These microscopic cells are transported in many different ways. Wind, water, insects, animals and of course collectors like us help spores get around. Spores are believed to be able to survive the vacuum of space and could possibly travel throughout the galaxy! When a spore germinates it sends out a filamentous strand called a hyphae. This strand will have one nuclei in each segment (monokaryotic hyphae). It will continue to grow until it reaches another strand of the same species. When they meet they will "clasp" and essentially mate, exchange genetic information and will have two nuclei in each segment (dikaryotic hyphae). Now these strands

will make a large web like structure called mycelium. Mycelium will grow through a substrate (wood, dirt, poo poo, dead things, alive things) releasing acids and enzymes to break down its food source externally. Absorbing its food through its cell walls. This can happen for days, months, years and sometimes centuries before ever growing a mushroom. Once the mycelium as either exhausted its food source or climate conditions are right, it will begin to fruit (reproduce) This will begin with hyphal knotting. Tiny white dots will appear on the substrate. These are baby baby mushrooms! They will then (sometimes very quickly) turn into primordia, and then grow into mature mushrooms! The mushrooms will then produce spores and start the process all over again.



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