Mushrooms: characteristics, description, habitat, myths and curiosities


In ancient times, both mushrooms and mushrooms they were considered plants since they could not move. In addition, they had the common characteristic that they grew on the ground. In this way, over time, they have been studied by the science known as botany. As studies in biology have increased, it became known that mushrooms do not have chlorophyll, so they cannot belong to the group of plants. They also do not photosynthesize, being the main characteristic of all plants.

In this article we are going to tell you all the characteristics, description and curiosities of mushrooms.

Key features

parts of a mushroom

parts of a mushroom

The way in which mushrooms were classified in antiquity was based on some of their most obvious characteristics. However, since it could not be established as a plant since it did not have chlorophyll and did not perform photosynthesis, it could be included in the animal kingdom. Likewise, it would not quite fit as the classification was not entirely accurate. The solution was to classify these types of living things in the fungi kingdom. This is how the fungi kingdom to which mushrooms and fungi belong was born. In this kingdom, more than 100.000 species are included and it made it necessary for a new science to appear to be in charge of all its study. Today we know this science as mycology.

We are going to analyze what are the different parts of mushrooms:

  • Hymenio: It is the part that is located under the hat and can take different forms. They can be in the form of sheets, tubes, stingers or fold. The main function of the hymenium is to be able to create, develop, store and disperse all the spores that are responsible for a new cycle of mushroom formation. It is as if they were the seeds of a plant.
  • Sombrero: it is located on the foot and has the function of protecting the formation of spores. The main function of a mushroom is to reproduce and increase its range. Thanks to the spores this is possible.
  • Foot: He is in charge of holding the hymenium and the hat. There are some mushrooms that do not usually have a foot or are very stunted. In this case, when we find some feet of this type, they are said to have a sessile appearance.
  • Come back: It is a fragment in the form of a membrane that comes from the general veil and that surrounds the base of the foot in some mushrooms. It is usually more common in some genres such as Amanita and Volvaria, hence its name. On some occasions, it may happen that the volva disappears when the mushroom matures.
  • Ring: it is the rest of the membrane that comes from the rupture of the internal partial veil. Not all mushrooms do not have. This curtain is made up of a mass of very fine fibers that are very small in size that gives rise to a kind of wire that covers and protects the hymenium.

Mushroom habitat

edible mushroom

edible mushroom

The most important part of mushrooms is underground and is made up of a network of filaments known as mycelium. Carbon is not only important for plants, but also for mushrooms. As they do not have chlorophyll, they are obliged to obtain carbon by extracting it from living organisms, whether they are plants or animals. They can also take it from organic substances present in the ground.

There are many mushrooms that are so located on the trunks of trees or in soils rich in organic matter. It is rare to find mushrooms in soils poor in both organic matter and moisture. When they are deposited on the trees, we see that a large amount of dead leaves fall and the mushrooms extract the carbon from this decomposing organic matter.

They are usually highly sought after for their delicious flavor, and some of them become highly valued, belonging to the most expensive food group in the world. We must know that not all mushrooms are edible, so it is necessary to know very well which ones are poisonous mushrooms.

Poisonous and edible mushrooms

characteristics of mushrooms

characteristics of mushrooms

Not distinguishing well between the mushrooms that we have found and collected can guarantee us a good problem. Keep in mind that there are edible mushrooms very similar to others that are poisonous. For example, one of the most exquisite mushrooms to try is the Amanita oronja and it is very similar to the poisonous mushroom Amanita muscaria. They both belong to the same genus, which includes some of the most poisonous mushrooms out there.

On the other hand, we have the much appreciated an edible boletus that belongs to a genus that has quite a few malignant species. For example, we have the devil’s ticket. Other mushrooms are easier to recognize as are the rebollones, chanterelles and agarics. Some of the species of mushrooms are harmless only if they are consumed very fresh since they are able to decompose quickly. Here we have clavarias, coprinos and morels.

Myths and curiosities

Let’s see what are the main myths and curiosities that mushrooms have. A lot of myths are told about these mushrooms. They usually have the belief to drink with some tests you can tell if a mushroom is edible or not. However, it is evidence that cannot really justify whether it is a good mushroom or not. Let’s see what some of those tests are:

  • It is said to be a mushroom is nibbled by snails are good. This is totally false, since snails can eat mushrooms without suffering any damage, which for man would be deadly.
  • Another myth is that those that have a sweet taste and very aroma are edible. There are some very dangerous mushrooms that have a pleasant taste and smell that make them more attractive. However, they contain a large amount of poison.

We can say in conclusion that you have to know very well and have some experience about mushrooms to know which is good and which is not. I hope that with this information you can learn more about mushrooms and their characteristics.

Mushrooms: characteristics, description, habitat, myths and curiosities

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