Mushroom Vocabulary

Agar: A gel-like material derived from seaweed that serves as the first source of nutrients for growing mycelium.

Bioremediation: Using living things, such as fungi or bacteria, to remove and filter pollutants from air, water, and soil.

Block: The enriched sawdust cube that comes in Mushroom Farm growing kits. It is held together with mycelium, from which the mushrooms grow. The block is sometimes called the substrate, even though the word substrate is more general, referring to anything on which mycelium is growing.  The “block” specifically refers to the substrate in our kits

Contamination: Any undesired organism, such as mold or bacteria, that grows in the spawn.

Cultivating: Deliberately encourage the growth of an organism.

Flush: A crop of mushrooms; one cycle of fruiting.

Fruit body: Any organism that produces spores. In the case of mushrooms, this is the part that grows above ground, including the cap and stem.

Fruiting:  The process of producing a fruit, in this case, mushrooms.

Gypsum:  Calcium sulfate, which is used to separate grain particles in jars and maintain a consistent pH in the culture.

Hypha: A thread-like cell, multiples of which make up the mycelium. pl —phae

Humidity dome/tent: A dome or plastic bag that is placed over the block to hold humidity close to its surface.

Inoculate: To impregnate a substrate with mycelium.

Lamalleae: The gills of the mushroom, found underneath the cap. Not all mushrooms have gills.

Mycelium: The “roots” of a mushroom, which expand to consume nutrients.

Mycology: The study of fungi.

Mycophile: A person who loves mushrooms.

Mycophobia: The fear of mushrooms and fungi.

Mycorrhizal: A fungus having a symbiotic (mutually beneficial) relationship with the roots of trees. The fungus pulls in nutrients for the tree that are too far away for the root system to tap.

Nature cultures:  Cultures of mycelium obtained from the wild and cultivated to grow indoors.

Parasite: An organism that obtains nutrients from a host organism, harming the host in some way in the process.

Pasteurization: The process of sterilizing a substrate using steam heat.

Pinhead: The very first stages of mushroom growth. They appear as tiny mushrooms growing out of the substrate.

Primordium, Primordia: See “pinhead”.

Saprophyte: A fungus that digests and lives on dead organic matter; a decomposer as opposed to a parasitic or mycorrhizal fungus.

Sclerotium, sclerotia: A solid clump of mycelium, occurring during the dormant stage of several types of mushrooms, from which mushrooms can fruit.

Spawn: Any substrate inoculated with mycelium that can be used to expand into more substrate.

Species: Any distinct group of organisms that have enough characteristics in common to interbreed and produce fertile offspring.

Spores:  Reproductive bodies capable of developing into new individuals asexually. Spores are also capable of fusing to reproduce sexually.

Sterilization: Eliminating undesirable organisms from a substrate. This is usually done with steam (pasteurization) and pressure treatment.

Strain: A unique form of the same species that has certain traits, usually selected and developed by the cultivator.

Substrate: The material on which the mycelium and mushrooms grow. It can be composed on a number of substances including mixtures containing sawdust, wood chips, grain, and birdseed.

Symbiotic:  A relationship between two or more different species that is usually, but not always, beneficial to both.