Wondering How Do Mushrooms Reproduce? We Tell You In 2 Simple Ways!

What Do You Know About Mushrooms?

What do you know about mushrooms? They are unique because they are considered a part of the vegetable section under the produce section but are fungi! The fleshy outer fruiting produced by some fungal mycelium is what we call mushrooms. Some people also call them toadstools because of their familiar shape.

More...

They are heterotrophic, which means that they are not capable of photosynthesis and cannot manufacture their nutrients. They depend on other sources for their carbon and energy needs. Mushrooms have:

  • Stem, rising from the host
  • Cap, growing from the stem and spreading like an umbrella
  • Gills, also known as the lamellae, growing under the cap.
How Do Mushrooms Reproduce 1

All I knew about mushrooms was that I loved eating them! That was the main reason why I wanted to cultivate them. However, I realized soon after starting that my knowledge about mushroom growing was limited. When someone asks me, "how do mushrooms reproduce?" I did not have a clear answer. It was only then that I decided to learn as much about mushroom reproduction as I could.

Varieties of Mushrooms

Mushrooms come in a variety of sizes, shapes, colours, tastes, and textures. Some mushrooms are indeed toxic, but the edible ones are tasty and healthy as well. You should not get overly adventurous and try to get mushrooms from the wild because it is challenging to identify poisonous ones. The best thing to do is either buy from reliable stores or grow your own like I am doing. If you want to know how mushrooms reproduce, it is best to learn more about the different popular varieties.

  • Button or White Mushrooms: most common and most popular with a mild taste. You can eat it raw or cooked. It can be used in pizzas, soups, and salads.
  • Shiitake: also known as black mushroom, it is found near oak trees in jungles. Nowadays, most shiitake are cultivated and have beautiful umbrella-shaped brown caps. They have a light woodsy flavour and aroma.
  • Portobella: very commonly used in Italian cooking, these mushrooms add a lot of depth to pasta and sauces. Young portobellos are also known as criminis. Some of these mushrooms are as big as the palm of a hand.
  • Oyster: you can find these growing wild on the sides of trees, but it is safer to use the cultivated ones. They are white in colour and fan-shaped. They have a delicate flavour and are used in Japanese and Chinese dishes.
  • Maitake: from a distance, this mushroom looks like the head of cabbage. It has an earthy aroma and is native to the USA and Japan.
How Do Mushrooms Reproduce 2

Mushroom Reproduction

It may surprise you, but mushrooms indeed have two mating types:

  • Sexual: sexually, mushrooms can reproduce with the fusion of hyphae, which make up the mycelium of mushrooms.
  • Asexual: the gills beneath the cap act like sexual reproduction, where the spores are produced. The spores are then dispersed naturally or by other means.

Sexual Reproduction

The sexual reproduction process of mushrooms takes place indirectly with the fusion of two individual hyphae. These then develop into the fruiting body, which we know as the mushroom.

The hyphae are filament-like structures that come out from the spores. Hyphae collected from the spores are then combined to produce gametangia. The gametangia then come together to form a diploid zygospore, which undergoes meiosis.

Asexual Reproduction

In this type of reproductive process, the spores are released from the gills under the mushrooms' cap. You can think of the spores as a smaller version of a full-grown mushroom.

These spores can be in the sporangium or just outside of it. You may have noticed small mushrooms growing in the wild, not fully formed, and look like little puffballs. This outer covering cracks open once it is ripe, and out comes a fully formed mushroom with stem, cap, and gills. The spores then disperse and spread to other areas where they again grow and become mushrooms.


Can You Grow Mushrooms At Home?

Access to fresh and organic mushrooms can be the primary motivating factor for growing mushrooms at home. Knowing and understanding the reproduction process will help you arrange the right growing conditions and improve the quality of mushrooms you cultivate.

How Do Mushrooms Reproduce 3

Setting up an area in the basement or an unused room is quite easy, or you can buy a pre-assembled growing kit as well. Watch this video to see how mushrooms grow.

  • Get a large container and fill it with compost
  • This is where the mushrooms will get their energy and carbon from
  • Sprinkle the spores or spawns on the surface of this compost
  • Cover with more compost and soil
  • Keep it under 70 degrees Fahrenheit for 3-4 weeks.
  • Spray water regularly during this time to keep the soil moist
  • After 7 to 8 weeks, you may notice the fruiting body of a mushroom

Log Process

Another way of cultivating mushrooms is to get a hardwood log and introduce spawns to the various holes. Follow the same heating and moisturizing process to get great tasting mushrooms.

Mushroom Kits

These are best for beginners who still don’t fully understand the lifecycle of mushrooms. These are readymade and come with full instructions.

How To Collect Spores

After reading all this, you now know that spores are needed for the reproduction process of mushrooms. How can you collect them?

  • Puffballs: it is easy to get puffballs from the nearby wild areas where mushrooms grow, or you can get them from a store and choose the species you want.
  • Spore Print: get a mature mushroom, a piece of paper, and a glass container. Remove the cap of the mushroom and then place it upside-down on the paper. Cover it with the glass container and leave it for 12 to 24 hours.

Nutritional Benefits of Mushrooms

Mushrooms can be considered a superfood because they are

  • Fat-free
  • Low in sodium
  • Low calories
  • Cholesterol free
  • Packed with fibers, vitamins, and minerals.

Depending on the variety of mushrooms, the nutrient content may vary, but most mushrooms have the following.

Antioxidants

Antioxidants are crucial for our bodies to fight against free radicals, which can cause heart diseases and cancer. They also slow down aging and boost the immune system. Mushrooms have an antioxidant called selenium in large quantities.

Vitamin B

The combination of riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid offers excellent protection for the health of our hearts. Mushrooms are rich in all these three B Vitamins, which also take care of our nervous and digestive systems.

Beta Glucan

This is a dietary soluble fiber and improves heart health and cholesterol levels in the body. It also helps in regulating blood sugar levels and reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.

Copper

The mineral copper is essential for many bodily processes apart from making red blood cells, which transfer oxygen to all parts of the body. One cup serving of mushrooms can provide almost one-third of the daily requirement of this mineral.

Potassium

Potassium is crucial for our muscles and heart and nerve function. In just about 2/3 cup of mushrooms, you can get as much potassium as there is in one medium-sized banana.

Are Mushrooms A Hazard?

I know people who refuse to touch mushrooms thinking they are all poisonous! They are not, and many are not only tasty but good for your health too. There are some toxic mushrooms you should not eat, and also keep your pets away. It is essential to identify an unknown mushroom and check its properties. If you are not 100 % sure, then it is better to leave it.

Frequently Asked Questions

I know people who refuse to touch mushrooms thinking they are all poisonous! They are not, and many are not only tasty but good for your health too. There are some toxic mushrooms you should not eat, and also keep your pets away. It is essential to identify an unknown mushroom and check its properties. If you are not 100 % sure, then it is better to leave it.

Q. How Do Mushrooms Reproduce?

A. Mushrooms reproduce both sexually as well as asexually, depending on the species. They can reproduce sexually with homothallic or heterothallic mycelia and asexually through budding, spores, and fragmentation.

Q. What are the three ways Mushrooms can reproduce asexually?

A. The three ways are

  • Budding: a mushroom can grow a new part, break off and take root on its own.
  • Fragmentation: a piece of mushroom’s mycelium splits off to become a new mushroom.
  • Spores: these are small particles released by different methods and grow into mushrooms where they land.

Conclusion

Like everything else in life, you can produce mushrooms in different ways. They reproduce in a variety of ways, both sexually as well as asexually. If you plan to grow mushrooms, you must try out different ways to see what works best. On the other hand, if you only want to know how mushrooms reproduce, we are sure that you will find yourself better informed after reading this article.

If you find the information useful, feel free to share it with others. Please contact us for more information or to clarify any doubts that you may have. Mushrooms are full of the riches that nature bestows on us, and you must take full advantage of its generosity.

Hoang Quang

Hello! I’m Quang Hoang and Grow Gardener is my little nook for all the adventures, and occasional misadventures, on my journey in gardening! As I continue to awaken life in little seeds and struggle to keep flora alive, I’ll be here sharing with all of you what I’ve learned! Join me in my little garden, and let’s grow together.

Click Here to Leave a Comment Below

Leave a Comment: