How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

Introduction: Mushroom Spore Prints

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

Making mushroom spore prints is so simple to do and the results are dramatic. What happens is that the spores fall down from the mushroom’s gills and land right on a piece of paper instead of on the ground where we would never notice them, besides they get blown away very quickly by the wind. In just a matter of hours we are able to see a sort of x-ray or print of the gills, but made up of spores, it’s pretty cool.

Step 1: Supplies:

  • Fresh mushroom caps
  • Sharp knife
  • Bowls
  • Gloves
  • Paper of different colors
  • 12 – 24 hours

Step 2: What to Do

  1. Play it safe and assume that any mushroom you are dealing with that did not come from the store is poisonous and treat it accordingly.
  2. While wearing gloves, find some mushrooms and carefully gather them, trying not to disturb the gills in the cap or getting dirt on them.
  3. Carefully – so as to not squish the gills – separate the cap from the stem; I used a sharp knife.
  4. Place the caps face down on paper, and cover with a bowl to keep any breeze from disturbing the process of the spores dropping from the cap onto the paper.
  5. Wait for 12 -14 hours and take a peak to see if you have a good print.
  6. If you don’t have a good print keep waiting. It’s a good idea to have a few of the same types of mushrooms because when you pick up a cap to see if the print is there you really can’t put that cap down again on that print or it will smear.

Step 3: Variables

Depending on what you are going to do with your spore prints, such as photographing them, the paper you place underneath the cap will have a lot to do with how your print turns out. It is a guessing game to know if a white mushroom will produce white, light, black or green spores. Obviously, if you think you are going to get white spores you would not want to use white paper.

Sometimes I waited as long as three days to get a nice spore print.

Step 4: Different Surfaces

I tried using different surfaces to see the different effects. I used velvet – not so great. I tried wood, which I think has potential but the mushroom cap I used produced ugly green spores so some photoshopping was in order.

The first image in this ‘ible was made by placing the mushroom on my filing cabinet which has a slick, shiny surface.

Step 5: And Now?

Now you have a bunch of beautiful mushroom spore prints (or at least know how to make them), and you are asking yourself what you can do with them. Well for sure you can ooh and ah over them but be careful of bumping the surface they are on or even breathing over them: they are ever so etherial and will just disappear all together if you blow on them.

In the world of science vs art, this process is done to collect spores so as to make more mushrooms; it’s like collecting seeds. I tried that with Chanterelles and met with no success. The spores were orange and wiggly but not nice enough for prints to show off. After soaking the paper in water and pouring the spore filled water on the ground and waiting 3 years I still do not have Chanterelles.

For myself, I plan on making large silkscreens from my spore images to use for printing on fabric. Even though the images on the fabric will be much much larger than a real mushroom, the image is familiar to our eyes and I think it will look good. One day soon.

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Mushrooms reproduce by making billions of spores that spread and grow into new organisms. You can take advantage of this phenomenon to make a beautiful print on paper.

How to Make Spore Prints

All you need are some fresh, open mushrooms, paper, and a bowl. You can use mushrooms found growing outside or buy them from the market. When selecting mushrooms for spore prints, look for these things:

  • The cap should be fully open with the gills exposed
  • The gills should look good, not wet and mushy
  • The mushroom should feel slightly moist but not wet; dry mushrooms will not work
  • There shoud not be mold spots on the mushroom
  • They should look like mushrooms you want to eat

How to make a mushroom spore print

This portobello mushroom is good for making spore prints.

How to make a mushroom spore print

This shiitake mushroom may be a little old—notice the brown spots on the cap’s edges—but should work.

First, remove the stems. I use scissors so I don’t pull up or damage any of the gills.

Place the mushrooms with the gill side down on a piece of paper. Mushrooms with dark gills, like portobellos, have dark spores that show up well on white paper. Shiitake mushrooms have white gills and spores that show up better on black paper. Some mushrooms make both dark and light spore prints.

How to make a mushroom spore print

These four shiitake mushrooms were placed on black paper. They will be covered with a bowl and then left overnight.

In the morning, carefully lift your bowl and the individual mushrooms and see what you get. If the paper absorbed a lot of moisture from the mushrooms, it may need to dry before you see the print very well—especially prints made on black paper. Portobello prints often show well-defined gills. Shiitake gills are not as straight and rigid as portobello gills, so you’ll get less gill definition in the print and a more wavy, swirling print. If your mushrooms are too wet, or are starting to rot, you’ll get more of a watercolor effect instead of a sharp print.

How to make a mushroom spore print

If all goes well, billions of spores will fall from the mushroom and produce a pattern that resembles the gills on the underside of the cap, like this portobello mushroom print.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Four shiitake mushrooms leave ghostly impressions on black paper. The swirled edges were made by the uneven surfaces of the mushroom caps.

How to make a mushroom spore print

The fine lines on this print look like they might have been drawn by an extremely sharp pencil, but the spores that compose the image are much smaller than the tip of a pencil.

A Little More about Mushroom Spores

Garden scientist Louise Egerton-Warburton recently told me, “Plants are cool, but fungus rules.” As a mycologist, fungus is her passion. Now, we aren’t really interested in competition or ranking organisms by levels of interest or importance because every living thing needs the others to survive. But the fact remains that we tend to forget about smaller things, especially those that are hidden from view, so let’s take some time to meditate on mushrooms.

Scientists used to think of mushrooms and other fungi as special kinds of plants. The problem is that, unlike plants, fungi do not get energy from photosynthesis. They are composed of different kinds of cells, they complete a different life cycle, and let’s face it: they don’t really even look like plants. So fungi are now grouped in their own kingdom of organisms, and nobody expects them to be anything like plants.

How to make a mushroom spore print

This stinkhorn fungus, Mutinus elegans, is growing out of the ground, but that is where its resemblance to green plants ends. It’s named for its obnoxious odor, which attracts flies that help distribute its spores.

There are many different kinds of fungus, so for simplicity, let’s just think about the familiar mushroom with its stem and cap. This structure is actually the reproductive part of the organism, in the same way fruit is a reproductive structure in plants. (But we are not comparing plants and fungus!) Beneath the soil where you find mushrooms growing, there is a network of branching thread-like structures, called hyphae, which grow through the dead plant and animal matter in the soil and absorb nutrients. This is the main body of the fungus. As the fungus digests organic matter, it decomposes, making it useful for plants.

How to make a mushroom spore print

This chicken of the woods fungus, Laetiporus sulphureus, doesn’t look like a mushroom, but it also produces spores.

Back above ground, when conditions are favorable, a mushroom grows up from the hyphae. It matures and releases spores, which are like seeds. (It’s really hard to get away from comparing fungus with plants!) Spores are structurally different from seeds, even though they function to spread the organism in a similar way. Spores are microscopic and are so small that mycologists measure them in microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter.

How to make a mushroom spore print

How many spores could fit on the tip of a sharp pencil? A lot! No wonder the spore print is so fine and delicate.

Look at a metric ruler. See the smallest lines that mark millimeters? Imagine dividing a millimeter into one thousand equal parts. Fungus spores measure 3 to 12 microns. It hurts my eyes trying to imagine a spore sitting on my ruler. We can only see them when there is a mass of them on a spore print. Mycologists use a micron ruler built into their microscopes to measure the individual spores.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Mushroom spore prints come in a variety of colors.

Knowing how to spore print a mushroom to help you identify it is one of the most most important things to know if you have any intention of picking mushrooms outside, cooking and eating them. It’s also one of the easiest science projects I’ve ever done, and even the word “project” is a bit of a stretch, since it’s so easy.

Why Spore Print a Mushroom?

I’m not a mycologist, but I’ve learned a few things, and I’ve eaten a lot of mushrooms. Basically, all mushrooms give off spores, and those spores can have different colors, and each of those different colors can be an important piece of the puzzle for identifying your mushroom(s) in question.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Chlorophyllum rhacodes, or the shaggy parasol.

A good example is two fall mushrooms: honey mushrooms and blewits. These mushrooms that grow in the fall when another family of mushrooms that isn’t generally recommended for picking, especially for beginners, also grows: Cortinarius. If you’re not familiar, some Cortinarius could look like the other edible species, and you wouldn’t want to bring those home.

The good news, is that all three of these will have different spore prints that you can use, along with a field guide, to tell them apart. Blewits will have a pale-pink spore print, honey mushrooms white, and Cortinarius, rusty brown.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Spore printing a Ramaria.

That being said, a spore print isn’t the only tool you should use for mushroom identification. I recommend using a spore print, along with field guides, and online research when looking for a positive ID, as some of the more cutting edge changes are posted online before they get published.

Even then, mushroom species are often being updated and shuffled around with genetic sequencing, and it can make things a little confusing.

How to make a mushroom spore print

An obviously pink spore print, a great 1st step to narrowing down what these are.

It’s possible, and probable that you’ll find mushrooms you want to identify, spore print them, research them to death, and still not know exactly what species they are. This can be frustrating, but In my mind, it’s part of the research process. In some instances, this can be ok, in others, you may want to pass on eating them.

If you want to serve your wild mushrooms to others it’s critically important that you’re sure of the safety of your mushrooms and have experience eating and serving them. It is nothing to collect a mushroom for a couple years and growing seasons, only to discard them after collecting and inspecting if you aren’t sure of your identification.

How to Make a Spore Print

Here’s what I do: take a mushroom, maybe an ugly or damaged one, cut off the stem at the cap, and put it down on a sheet of black paper. Cover the mushroom cap with a bowl or cup, then leave it out for a few hours or overnight. When you take the cup off and remove the mushroom, there should be a colored print of spores left on the paper.

This is your spore print. Sometimes, it might be helpful to use both black and white paper, putting the mushroom half over each color, if the spore print is hard to see, but most of the time I can get the jist using black. You can also do spore prints on just about any other firm surface, too. Below I use a black plate.

How to make a mushroom spore print

A white spore print on a tricholoma. Sometimes I’ll use a black plate since they’re easy to wash, instead of paper.

Natural Spore Prints

You often don’t need to bring mushrooms home to spore print them. It can be a good idea to bring them home to double check though, especially to rule out look-a-like species, but sometimes, as with mushrooms that have an obviously white spore print, you can look around the ground for mature mushrooms that have already released their spores.

Sometimes it is easy and obvious. Other times, say if it rained recently, it may be a lot more difficult and you should probably bring some home for spore printing.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Look closely at the lobster mushroom, can you see the white, powdery coating? That is a natural spore print.

How to use it

When you’re finished and have a spore print, the next thing to do is to consult a proper field guide. When you find the species of wild mushroom you think you have, the color should be the same as the spore print on your plate or piece of paper. Sometimes this may be tricky, as mushroom spores come in many different colors.

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

Making spore prints is like seed saving for Mushrooms, as it were.

And not only are spore prints an easy and fun way to get to know mushrooms, if you chose to do it carefully, they’re also a very cheap way to cultivate more mushrooms at home…

How to make a mushroom spore print

Spore print art by Erin Frost

Spore prints are used for three main purposes – mushroom cultivation, mushroom identification (as different mushrooms have different coloured spores, and this is an easy way to figure out spore colour), and of course art.

The basic process is super simple.

For gilled mushrooms, simply cut off the stalk of a freshly picked mushroom and lay it gill side down on a piece of paper, or glass.

Covering your mushroom/s at this point with a glass vessel or similar is a good idea, as this will reduce evaporation and airflow, ensuring a clearer (and hopefully less contaminated) spore print.

In 6 – 12 hours, the mushroom should release its millions of spores onto the paper, in the radiating pattern of the gills. You now have a spore print.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Why make mushroom spore prints

– Spore prints are a great simple technique for capturing new genetics to add to your mushroom cultivation setup

– Spore prints can be made on the go – you can even seal them up and easily post them home if you’re mid-mushroom-hunt.

– Spore prints offer much more diversity of characteristics to the home mushroom grower than making a phenotypic clone – it’s just like the difference between growing from seed, as opposed to grafting.

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a spore print

Make sure you have a mature mushroom (no veil), which is as fresh as possible. Try and keep things as sterile as possible during the whole process.

Collecting spores on paper

  • Cut stem with sterile scalpel, at the highest possible point without touching gills
  • Place mushroom cap on a piece of paper for 12 to 24h, covered with a clean bowl
  • Remove mushroom cap
  • Pick up spore printed paper with clean tweezers and put in a ziplock bag
  • Can be stored at room temperature for years, in a dark and cool location

Collecting spores on plates of glass

  • Wash glass with soapy water, dry with wipe, clean with alcohol
  • Create a bind between both plates by joining the two plates with duct tape
  • Place mushroom caps on top of both plates for 12 to 24h, covered with bowl
  • Remove, dry and store mushrooms for later reference purposes
  • Seal the three remaining edges with more tape, creating a “Spore Booklet”.
  • Write bibliographic mushroom details
  • Can be stored at room temperature for years, in a dark and cool location
  • Glass allows for easy future use of spore as well as observation without risk of contamination

How to make a mushroom spore print

What to do with it: germinating spores

Germinating the spores from your spore print is best done on nutrified agar plates in a glove box setup, as with tissue/agar cloning.

Alternatively, a spore syringe can be made, but this is a bit more tricky.

Method 1: scalpel and streaking

  • Sterilise a scalpel by passing it through a flame, then cooling it in the “receiving” nutrified agar. This way the scalpel gets covered with a moist and adhesive layer of media for better spore attachment.
  • Touch the spore print with the scalpel tip to collect hundreds of spores
  • Streak the tip into an “S” pattern across the surface of the petri dish
  • 5 to 15 days later, your spores (should) germinate according to the streaking pattern!
  • Colonies of germinating spores can then be subcultured into more petri dishes
  • See page 93-95 of Paul Stamets’ Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, 3rd edition for great photos of this process.

Method 2: paper rubbing

  • In this method, the spore print can be folded and rubbed together so that spores drop onto nutrified agar media
  • This method is not the best as concentrated populations of spores are grouped together.

Method 3: spore syringe

A spore syringe is a bit trickier to make. It contains sterile water with hydrated spores in it.

The advantage of a spore syringe is that this spore water can be used to inoculate the substrate of your choice. This way the chance that the spores will germinate is much higher.

How to make a mushroom spore print

From the book: “Our Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms and How to Distinguish Them”, by W. Hamilton Gibson

Spore print resources

  • Growing Gourmet and Medicinal Mushrooms, 3rd editionby Paul Stamets
  • Making a spore syringe – mushplanet
  • Making a spore print for cultivation – mushplanet
  • Shroomery – an always amazing mushroom cultivation forum
  • Spore print art by Erin Frost
  • Our Edible Toadstools and Mushrooms and How to Distinguish Them by W. Hamilton Gibson

The thing that I love about spore prints is that they are at once beautiful and practical – functional art that, if handled carefully, can result in yet another home harvest!

If you’d like to get started in home mushroom cultivation, we run a comprehensive 8-week online course that covers many different indoor/outdoor cultivation techniques.

Mushrooms produce millions of spores that spread and grow into new mushrooms. If you plan to grow mushrooms at home, collecting spores will be an easy and cheap way to get started. There are various techniques in collecting mushrooms spores. The easiest way is through spore prints. In this guide, we will show you how to get mushroom spores by making spore prints.

Related Post:

Mushrooms are fungi. Unlike regular plants that grow from seeds, mushrooms grow from spores. You’ll need these spores if you are trying to grow mushrooms at home. Yes, it is possible to buy mushrooms spores. They are normally priced per gram. However, if you have access to fresh mushrooms, collecting their spores will offer more benefits.

What Are Spore Prints

Mushroom spore prints are a dense cluster of spores from mushroom gills. These spores are normally printed on a clean piece of paper. A single spore can be hardly seen by the naked eye. However, a spore print makes all the mushroom spores visible. It is like the fingerprint of a mushroom.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Benefits of Getting Mushroom Spore Prints

Spore prints are done for various purposes. The most popular is for mushroom identification, art, and cultivation. What is great about making spore prints is that they can be done on the go. If you are a mushroom grower, spore prints allow you to diversify the characteristics of your mushrooms (source).

Collecting spore prints is not a very complicated process. When you do it, the results are dramatic. If you have all the materials at hand, you can do the procedure in less than one hour. That is, excluding the waiting time. During the waiting time, the spores will just fall from the gills and transfer on the piece of paper. It is a pretty cool process that results in a seeming work of art made of spores.

Making spore prints is an inexpensive way of gathering and preserving spores for whatever purpose you may have. What’s good about spore prints is that you can easily seal and store them for future use. Making spore prints is also a good way of preserving a variety of home grown mushrooms you like.

Materials Needed

  • 1. Fresh Mushrooms that have the following characteristics (source):
  • Fully opened cap with exposed gills
  • The gills should not be wet and mushy
  • The mushroom should be moist and not dry
  • The mushroom should have no mold spots
  • The mushrooms should have a good overall appearance
  • 2. White paper
  • 3. Water dropper
  • 4. Knife
  • 5. Glass container large enough to cover the mushroom cap

How to Get Mushroom Spores by Making Prints

Making spore prints needs to be done in a clean and sterile manner. If possible, wear gloves during the process. Contaminating the mushroom can make this process unsuccessful. To be sure, take all necessary precautions.

Preparing the Mushroom

Gently remove the cap from the mushroom. Cut the stem off when necessary so that there won’t be any stem extending down from the cap. When removing the stem, use a very sharp knife. This will prevent you from shaking or crushing the cap during the process. You will lose spores with too much movement on the cap.

Laying the Cap on the Paper

Prepare the white piece of paper. Lay the cap of the mushroom on the paper with the gills facing down. If the entire mushroom cap does not fit in the paper, you may cut the cap into several sections.

Cover the Mushroom Cap

Drop a small amount of water on top of the mushroom cap. This will encourage the mushroom to release spores. Cover the mushroom cap with a glass container. This will prevent any air movement from scattering the spores. It will also prevent the mushroom from drying out and from contamination.

Wait for 24 Hours

Leave the mushroom cap covered by the glass container for 24 hours. Some prints may appear as early as a few hours but you’ll get the best result if you wait overnight (source).

Waiting Time if Over

After 24 hours, remove the glass container. While holding the paper with one hand, carefully remove the mushroom cap. You should be able to see a clear spore print. If the paper is left untouched, the spore print should reflect the pattern of the gills.

What If There is No Print?

If after waiting 24 hours, you get a very pale mushroom print, this could indicate you may need extra waiting time. However, in most cases, you may have to repeat the procedure. It could be that you used a mushroom that is too dry or too old to produce spores.

Also, store-bought mushrooms are not ideal for making spore prints. These mushrooms normally have lost most of their spores during storage or transport. The best mushrooms to use are those freshly picked.

How Long Can Spore Prints Last

Collected mushroom spores can last for years. But there is no definite time as to how long it can go. Different forums have different answers to this question. Ultimately, the shelf life of mushroom prints depends on their storage conditions.

How to Store Spore Prints

Once the spore prints are ready, you could either plant them or store them. Storing spore prints for future use is easy. Many people prefer using a zip bag that is 100% airproof. The size of the bag will depend on the size of your spore print. Simply insert your spore print inside the bag. Remove all the air inside and seal.

The general rule for storing spore prints is in a cool, dark and dry place. You may store them in between books or in a box. For longer shelf life, it would be best to store spore prints inside the refrigerator (source).

Note that when you keep your spore prints inside the refrigerator, they need to be tightly sealed. No amount of moisture should seep into them. Sealing the spore prints from air and heat will prolong their shelf life.

If not in the refrigerator, be sure to keep the spore prints in a cool and dry location. Too much moisture and high temperature can damage the spores. Too much moisture also encourages bacterial growth that will destroy the spores.

Video: How to store spore prints

One of the main reasons for making a spore print of a mushroom or any other kind of fungus is to help in the process of identification. The colour of the spores, when seen en masse, is one of the best ways of determining which mycological family the specimen belongs to – for example the Amanitaeae (which have whitish spores), Cortinariaceae (which have rust-brown spores), Entolomataceae (which have pinkish spores) etc.

In some families there is a range of spore colours. For example in the family Russulaceae some genera have whitish spores while others have yellow spores, ochre spores etc. The particular colour of the spore print can help you narrow down the number of possibilities in your quest to identify the specimen to species level.

Preparing a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step 1. Remove the stem so that when you turn the cap over the gills will make close contact with the paper. Some stems snap easily from the cap, but in most instances it is best to cut the stem using a scalpel or a very sharp knife.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step 2. Place the cap, gills downwards, on white paper. This works okay for mushrooms whose spores are not white! For white-spored mushrooms use black paper or clear plastic or glass. If you intend looking at the spores under a microscope, then whatever colour the spores are making the spore print on a microscope slide or (better still) a slide cover slip is ideal.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step 3. Place a tumbler on top of the cap to prevent it from drying out. Leave the tumbler in place for two or three hours. Here’s a useful tip: some small mushrooms tend to dry out very quickly even when covered, but if you place a piece of wet tissue paper on top of the cap you will avoid this problem.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step 4. Remove the tumbler and then carefully lift the cap. If you want to keep the spore print or to make several such prints for display purposes, you will want to ensure that the spore patterns will not be smudged during handling. Spray the completed spore print with artist’s clear varnish. (Hair lacquer is not as good, but it’s a lot better than nothing.)

Making spore prints from other kinds of fungi

Boletoid fungi (those producing their spores within tubes) and Hydnoid fungi (those producing their spores on spines) can be treated in exactly the same way as gilled fungi, and their spore prints consist of patterns of dots or of rings respectively.

Cup fungi – for example Peziza species – should be placed with the fertile (inner) surface downwards. The resulting spore pattern is a disc with no gill, pore or spine patterning, of course.

Flask fungi – for example Daldinia species – throw their spores around their complex fruitbodies (stromata), and so the print pattern is made close to but not beneath the fungus specimen, as shown below:

How to make a mushroom spore print

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  1. How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

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How to make a mushroom spore print

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How to make a mushroom spore print

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Before you start making your spore syringe, it is important to ensure that the space you are making it in is clean and sterile. It is essential that you minimize contamination from other fungi spores or bacteria. The process of making a spore syringe is relatively simple. A spore syringe contains sterile water containing hydrated spores, which is referred to as spore solution. The hydration of your spores is incredibly important as dry spores are highly unlikely to germinate. This makes it a vital process before mushroom breeding can begin. As the spores in spore syringes are naturally hydrated and ready to go, spore syringes are very convenient to use.

You will need the following to make a spore syringe:

• Water
• A spore print
• Empty & sterile syringes
• A beaker or a narrow-necked glass flask
• Pressure cooker
• Tweezers
• Scalpel
• Tin foil
• Burner or gas hob

The process of making a spore syringe

• The first step in making your spore syringe is to sterilize your water and glass beaker. Once sterilized, fill your beaker halfway with water and cover it with tin foil to prevent any air from entering the beaker.

• Next, place your beaker/bottle in the pressure cooker and heat it until it reaches 15psi. Once 15psi is reached, lower the temperature of your pressure cooker so that it is maintained for approximately 30 minutes.

• After 30 minutes, turn off the heat completely and allow the water to cool to room temperature.

This is a vital step in the process of making your spore syringe. If you proceed while the water is still hot, you run a big risk of killing the mushroom spores. It will take a few hours for the water to cool down to room temperature. A good idea is to let the water sit overnight.

• Once the cooling process is completed, you are ready to make your spore syringe. Start by sterilizing your tweezers and scalpel in a flame.

• Remove the tin foil you placed over your beaker.

• Using your sterilized tweezers, remove the spore print from its storage and hold it over the opening of the beaker.

• Use your sterilized scalpel to carefully scrape some of the spores into the water.

• Fill your syringe instantly by placing the tip of your first syringe in the water and filling it up as soon as you’ve scraped the spores into the water. It is a good idea to empty the syringe back into the beaker, and to repeat this process a few times. This will ensure that there is a good spread of spores throughout the water. Do this every time you add more mushroom spores to the water.

• Once you’ve filled your syringe, leave it at room temperature for 2-3 days in order for the spores to fully hydrate.

• After 2-3 days, store your syringe in an airtight zip lock bag or in a fridge for future use. Once properly stored, your spore syringes will remain viable for 2-6 months.

This is one method that can be used to make a mushroom spore syringe. There are several variations of this method, some of which use more advanced equipment and containers to increase the chances of your mixture staying sterile. This method is however a good solid foundation that will undoubtedly yield a great success rate and excellent results.

How to make a mushroom spore print


Anna Marija Helt, PhD

Anna Marija is an herbalist and scientist in Durango, CO who spent her childhood wandering the woods of suburban Philadelphia. Before falling in love with herbalism (and mushroomism) she worked a dozen years as a biomedical scientist in cancer biology and infectious disease research — first as a research technician at Fox Chase Cancer Center in Philadelphia, then as a doctoral student at the University of Washington Department of Microbiology, and finally as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California, Berkeley. She studied herbalism with Pam Fisher at the Ohlone Herbal Center in Berkeley, Kathi Keville at the Green Medicine Herb School and with others. Marija is passionate about learning and teaching and has a clinical practice while leading classes and workshops locally and online. She is an avid plant harvester and medicine maker, preferring weeds, mushrooms and only the most abundant native plants as her allies. Long term goals are to introduce herbs to folks who aren’t already on the bandwagon, including allopathic medical professionals, and to empower her clients with herbal traditions augmented by critical evaluation of current research. Her website is

For more information & to learn more about Anna and her work, visit the Oshada Natural Health & Durango School of Herbal Studies on Facebook!


How to make a mushroom spore print

What’s a spore print? Well, first, mushroom spores are how mushrooms reproduce. They are usually released from the underside of a mushroom cap. But spores are too small to see individually with the naked eye. When you make a spore print, you essentially get a big pile of spores so you can see what color they are.

Spore Prints for Mushroom Identification

Why in the world would someone want to make a spore print? One of the two main reasons is because mushroom foragers such as myself want to be sure of the identification of a mushroom. Spore color is one important factor in identification; it can prevent someone from making a potentially deadly mistake when foraging for edible or medicinal mushrooms. Consider, for instance, a tasty edible called Horse Mushroom (Agaricus arvensis, scientifically-speaking). Horse Mushroom has a white cap and stalk and there is a white membranous ring around the stalk. Horse Mushroom also has gills under the stalk. (If you’ve ever looked at the underside of a Portabella mushroom, then you know what gills look like.) The problem? There are other mushrooms with a white cap and stalk, a ring around the stalk, and gills under the cap. For example, deadly Destroying Angel Amanitas. But Horse Mushroom will have a brown spore print while a Destroying Angel will have a white spore print. (They also have different gill coloration. ).

Sometimes spore prints are actually for trying to grow a mushroom. The print is a way to collect and store spores for growing later. I’m not going to get into how to do this because it’s a bit more complicated than the standard spore print.

Spore Prints for Art

The other main reason for making a spore print is because they’re beautiful! You can make spore-print art: Cards, posters, collages, wherever your creativity takes you.

Different mushroom species have different colored spores—white, rust, salmon, cream, olive, brown, black, etc.—so you can make colorful spore print collages. You can also play around with spore print size and shape using different mushroom species. For example, many mushrooms will give you a round spore print, while others may be more irregularly-shaped, like Oyster Mushrooms, or crescent-shaped like shelf mushrooms.

You can also play with spore print patterns. “Gilled” mushrooms make a spore print with a gilled pattern: A bunch of straight or somewhat straight lines radiating out from the center of the print. Some mushrooms release their spores from little holes called pores under the cap, rather than from gills. Others have tooth-like structures under the cap that release the spores. So, these prints will all look different.

How to Make a Spore Print

It’s easy! For mushrooms with a cap and a stalk, pop the stalk off without damaging the cap. Place the cap bottom-side-down on a flat surface. This may be a piece of paper, cardboard, aluminum foil, or maybe a piece of glass or wood. For mushrooms that don’t have a stalk, like shelf fungi that grow out of the sides of trees or logs, just be sure to place the side that was facing the ground down on your surface. Place a bowl over the mushroom. Let it sit for a few hours to a day or two. Putting a drop of water on the cap may improve spore release.

I often do prints on white paper, but this isn’t useful when looking for white spores. Same idea with black paper. Some folks do the print half on white and half on black paper, with the paper’s taped together underneath. Aluminum foil and clear glass are good options because they’ll work for very light or very dark spores.

Hard mushrooms like shelf fungi can be more challenging because they actually last a long time. The one you’ve found may be too young or too old to make spores. Or it may make spores slowly. Wrapping the shelf fungus in a wet cloth overnight before trying to make a spore print may help with spore production. It’s an attempt to mimic the dampness from a rain to fool the mushroom into sporulating.

Once you have a spore print, you can preserve it with artist’s fixative spray, but hold it a foot above the spore print and don’t add too much or you’ll ruin the print. I like to store mine in plastic sleeves in a binder or art portfolio. Or you can put them in a box where they’re protected from light. Or, better yet, frame them!

I’ve always been fascinated by art and plants. Before I had kids I used to do botanical illustration – the art of painting true to life pictures of plants.

Historically, this type of art was popular before photography was invented as it was the only scientific method of recording plants. Many plants were documented in their entirety all the way from the roots, stems, leaves, flowers, berries and seeds. If you look in the old journals from early explorers you will likely find botanical illustrations.

By having the ability to recognise a plant, a person was able to forward on the knowledge if the plant was edible or poisonous. Mushrooms as a fungi are no different.

One of the methods used to check the edibility of mushrooms was to get a spore print. Although, spore printing should not be the only defining feature to tell whether a mushroom is safe to eat or not. You would need to know about the growing habitat, climate, season and fungi characteristics. See this article about Saffron Milk Caps to find out more about identifying mushroom features.

What Are Mushroom Spores

Mushroom spores are the ‘seeds’ of fungi. Numbering in the tens of thousands on each mushroom, these spores when released become airborne in the hope of finding a suitable growing location.

If the conditions are right the spores first grow as mycelium and then later as a reproductive organ – the mushroom.

Mushroom Spore Prints as Art

Using spore prints to create art is largely untapped as a form of artistic expression.

There is such variety in mushroom spore colour and pattern, not to mention the physical size of the mushroom, that there is much scope for expansion in this genre.

Making spore prints is easy enough for children to do. However, ensure that children do not eat poisonous mushrooms and wash their hands after holding unknown varieties.

Mushroom Identification Using Spores

Some varieties of mushrooms are so similar in appearance that a spore print is needed to confirm identity. Other times, a spore print is made as part of a checklist of mushroom identification.

Each type of fungi has a different spore type and releases them in unique patterns dependent upon the form of the underside of the mushroom cap.

For example, the edible Wood Blewit mushroom (Lepista nuda) is very similar to the poisonous Cortinarius archerii. Both mushrooms are purple in colour, have gills underneath, are the same size and can be found in similar habitats. Compare the two photos below.

However, you can tell the two varieties apart from their spore prints. The Wood Blewit has a salmon coloured spore print and Cortinarius archerii has a brown spore print.

How to Make a Spore Print

  • Mushrooms
  • Paper
  • A container
  1. Collect your mushrooms

2. Carefully remove the stems from the mushrooms and discard them.

3. Place a sheet of paper in a location where it won’t be disturbed. If the paper gets bumped whilst you are making a spore print, the print will become smudged.

4. Place an upside down container over the mushrooms. Prop the container up slightly.

5. Wait anywhere from a few hours to overnight.

6. If the spore print is visible, remove the container and carefully lift the mushrooms off the paper.

7. If keeping the spore prints as art or for science, spray with a fixative or hairspray.

Our Spore Prints

Whether you are interested in spore prints for art or science, it’s a fascinating yet easy activity to do. All you need to do is pick some mushrooms, get a piece of paper and a container and voila, just like that, you’ll have a spore print!

Are you interested in learning how to grow oyster mushrooms from a kit that you put together yourself? We now have an oyster mushroom growing course that teaches everything about mushrooms, plus comes with a kit mailed to your house. For more details please head over to Growing Oyster Mushrooms at Home.

Spore prints are an exciting, engaging experiment that gives you a quick reward, allowing you to:

  • Grow many mushrooms from the spores of just one mushroom
  • Identify wild mushrooms
  • Make one-of-a-kind nature-themed artwork

Are you ready to begin?

  • A very fresh mushroom (we recommend shiitake, oyster, chestnut or a wild mushroom)
  • Light and dark colors of paper OR a piece of glass/plexiglass
  • Glass or bowl to cover the experiment

  1. Remove the stem from the mushroom
  2. Place the cap gills down on the paper towel/piece of paper. If you know the color of the spores, choose a contrasting color of paper. Shiitake and oyster mushrooms drop white or cream spores. Chestnut mushrooms drop brown spores. You can also use a piece of glass so you can move it over different colors of paper
  3. Place the glass over the cap and paper; let it rest for 24 hours. This time will allow for the spores to fall from the gills.
  4. Carefully remove the glass, and lift the cap from the paper to reveal your beautiful spore print! If you plan to grow mushrooms from your print, you can keep the print in a sealed bag in a dry, dark place until you’re ready to cultivate it.

Spore prints are unique just like snowflakes in that no two spore prints are ever the same. Maybe you’ll use your spore print to cultivate your own batch of mushrooms, or you’ll hang the spore print on your wall to show off your newly learned skill. Whichever you choose, spore prints are a fantastic activity to do to explore the life cycle of mushrooms, or do with your kids!

How do mushrooms grow from spores?

Growing mushrooms from spores is a challenge worth taking on for experienced mushroom connoisseurs. This is done through extracting spores from the head of a mushroom. Spores are microscopic organisms that essentially provide a blueprint for the growth of a new mushroom. Depending on the size, mushroom caps may host millions of spores ready to germinate. The process of successfully growing mushrooms from spores is somewhat tedious, but a rewarding one when done properly. See our blog post about creating a spore print here (link blog) to get started before you can begin the cultivating process.

There are two ways to start the process of germinating the spores that you have collected. First, many beginner growers simply spread the tiny spores over a container of soil with compost mixed in. The key component to seeing mushrooms pop up is giving it warmth and moisture. Mushrooms thrive in humid conditions, and make sure the container isn’t in direct sunlight. The time it takes for mushrooms to emerge varies, so patience is key!

For more novice growers, you can create a spore syringe. This method is slightly more challenging, as contamination is possible. Make sure you use a sterile syringe, placing the tip in flames for a few seconds should do the job. Use distilled water that has been boiled to remove all possible contaminants. Fill a sterile syringe with cooled distilled water. Combine half of the water in the syringe with the spores from the print in a sterile glass. To do so, shoot half of the water from the syringe into a sterile glass, then scrape the spores from the paper towel into the glass using a sterile utensil. Now draw the spore and water mixture back into the syringe.

Spores require another substance other than light to successfully germinate. Common substances include sawdust, straw, coffee grounds, and grain. Spawn is created when you blend the spores with said substance. Spawn allows mycelium to grow, which is the fungus that will grow mushrooms! In order to start the fruiting process, inject the spore syringe into the substance you chose, like moist coffee grounds. Creating your own spawn must be done in a sterile environment, and may present several challenges. There is a lot of information on the internet about creating your own spawn, we suggest looking into it before getting started.

This process has many variables, and is certainly not a beginner activity. Extensive research is recommended before attempting to grow your own mushrooms from spores. If this activity seems daunting, our grow kits are a great way to start learning about the mushroom growth process!

The best way to start the cultivating process is to get a good spore print. The spores are to the mushroom what seeds are to a plant. Hidden under the cap of a mushroom reside from hundreds of thousands to millions of spores that can all lead to the growth of new mushrooms.

How to make a mushroom spore print

The making of a spore print has to be done in a sterile manner, so be sure to take all necessary precautions.
To make a spore print you will need the following:

  • a nice mature mushroom with an opened cap
  • a sharp knife (scalpel)
  • lighter, gas-burner
  • a clean piece of paper (a piece of alum foil or glass are also possible)
  • a glass
  • pair of tweezers
  • small zip bag

How to make a mushroom spore print

Sterilize the scalpel by heating it in the flame of a gas burner. Take it out of the flame when it starts to glow red and wait for 20 – 30 seconds to let it cool off.

Cut the cap from the stem at the highest possible point. Be sure not to touch the spores with the knife. Place the cap on the piece of paper with the spores facing down and cover it with a clean glass. In any case, the spores shouldn’t be exposed to the outside air.

How to make a mushroom spore print How to make a mushroom spore printHow to make a mushroom spore print

After approximately 24 hours most of the spores will have fallen down. When the cap is still on the paper and you can see the spores have fallen around it that should be enough to continue. Remove the cap from the paper. Pick up the spore printed paper with a pair of tweezers and put it in a sealed bag. Small grip bags are excellent to use here. It is very important that the bags are 100% airproof. When placed in a cool and dark place, spore prints can be kept well for several years.

How to make a mushroom spore print

What’s a spore?

A spore is like a seed for fungi. Like collecting seeds from plants, you can collect spore prints of mushrooms you’ve foraged to aid in your identification sleuthing. 🕵️‍♀️ Mycologists use spore size, shape and color to help identify an unknown species of mushroom.

The spore of a mushroom holds all of the genetic material required to form a new fungus. Mushrooms are actively ejecting spores all of time (even if you’re just chillin’ reading this on your couch, you have spores on you right now. If you just tried to rub them off, they’re still there. Don’t even think about it, just keep chillin. Cool. ) On their own, spores are teeny-tiny and can only be seen with a microscope. 🔬

How to make a mushroom spore print

Gif via DISPERAL GIF on giphy

When the spores of a mushroom are released, they can travel a considerable distance before they land. Upon landing, this single cell (spore) sends out ‘hyphae’ or fibers that as a collective we refer to as ‘mycelium.’ Mycelium’s job is to help gather food and materialize the fungus.

On a mature mushroom, thousands and thousands of spores grow on just one gill of the mushroom (and non-gilled mushrooms have their own distinct method of releasing spores). Spore color can range from white to black and many shades in between.

Here are some things to note before you go about making a print:

  • When collecting mushrooms for prints out in the field, you can take along some sheets of aluminum foil in your collecting basket, place the mushroom cap on the foil, and enclose it, together with the rest of the mushroom, in the foil.
  • You want to maintain cleanliness and sterility as much as possible. Do everything you can to minimize contamination from other fungi spores or bacteria!
  • If you have the option, use the freshest caps or cleanest specimens. The older the cap, the fewer the spores and a higher likelihood contamination from other of bacteria /fungi or insects being present.
  • Try to maintain humidity to achieve a thick, dark spore print. Mushrooms are 90 perfect water, containing ample moisture best preserved placing a cup or bowl over the cap during the printing process. The bowl also aids in protecting the area around the cap from dust and other airborne spores. After printing, the spore print needs to dry (any condensation left will promote bacteria).

How to make a mushroom spore print

Photo by Caine Barlow

  • You can print on many mediums, including aluminum foil, a white piece of paper, an index card or a glass microscope slide. Aluminum foil is a popular choice because it is lightweight, durable, and considerably sterile. Paper can be problematic for storing long term due to spores binding with the fibers or the potentiality of mites wanting to munch on your spores.
  • If you already know the color of the spores of your mushroom, you can pick a colored paper that will highlight the spore color.

How to make a mushroom spore print

  • If you’re feeling *artsy*, you can “float” down the mushroom onto the paper in different patterns from the air current in the room. Place the cap of the mushroom on card stock or colored paper without covering the cap, and just see what happens. It can make for a neat card for your nerdy mycophilie friends or some artistic inspo for your next creation.
  • Ink caps specifically (Coprinus comatus or other Coprinus species) will drop a surprising amount of black spores: leaving them overnight could provide you with enough to make ink. Just scrape them into several drops of water and then doodle on!

Gilled Mushrooms

Mushrooms with gills’ spores lie on the gill surface.

How to make a mushroom spore print

First, cut off the stem and place the cap, with the gills facing down, on a piece of aluminum foil, a white piece of paper, an index card or a glass microscope slide.

Put a drop of water on the top of the cap to help release the spores.

Cover the cap with a paper cup, glass, or bowl and leave for 2-24 hours, depending on the humidity and the freshness of the mushroom. The spores will fall on the paper, foil or glass, making a spore print pattern.

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

If the mushroom has a stem and is soft and fresh, such as a bolete (see pictured above ) the spores will be inside the pores underneath the cap.

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

If the mushroom is hard, it is more difficult to obtain spore prints from polypores growing on trees or logs. Some polypores take a long time to mature and produce spores. Also, the mushrooms can often live a long time after they produce and disperse their spores. Try wrapping them in wet paper towels or newspapers overnight before putting them down on foil, paper or glass to make a spore print. Note that the spore bearing surface always faces down toward the ground as the polypore grows.

A spore print can be made in the same way as for a gilled mushroom (reiterated below). Your spore deposit will reflect the size and shape of the pores.

How to make a mushroom spore print

First, cut off the stem and place the cap, with the gills facing down, on a piece of aluminum foil, a white piece of paper, an index card or a glass microscope slide.

Put a drop of water on the top of the cap to help release the spores.

Cover the cap with a paper cup, glass, or bowl and leave for 2-24 hours, depending on the humidity and the freshness of the mushroom. The spores will fall on the paper, foil or glass, making a spore print pattern.

How to make a mushroom spore print

If you stumble upon other types of mushrooms such as morels, hydnums, corals, puffballs or birds nests, just do a quick search-a-roo and look up how to locate the spores!

Spore prints can be preserved on paper or foil by spraying them lightly with an artist spray or hairy spray. Hold the spray at least 12 to 15 inches above the print or you may blast the spores right off the paper!

How to make a mushroom spore print

Whether you decide to up your mushroom ID game to the next level, make some fun art prints, or personalize a mush greeting card, spore prints are a neat way to familiarize yourself better with your foray findings!

Modified: May 14, 2022 by Mrs. Mushroom · This post may contain affiliate links · Leave a Comment

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

Making spore prints can be extremely helpful when identifying wild mushrooms. While one can’t see a single spore, the color of a large group of spores often gives a clue towards the type of mushroom.

Spores are the “seeds” of the mushroom, dropped or released with the intention of reproduction. For more on spore dispersal methods see this page.

How to make a mushroom spore printJump to:

  • How to Make Spore Prints
  • Identifying Wild Mushrooms

How to Make Spore Prints

  1. Gather your wild mushroom of choice. Make sure it is old enough to drop spores. A specimen in the button phase or one with the partial veil still attached may not be dropping enough spores just yet.
  2. Cut off the stem and set the cap on a piece of paper or glass.
  3. The spore-bearing part of the cap, be it gills or pores, should be pointing downwards.
  4. The picture to the right shows the mushroom and its print on two different colors of paper.
  5. How to make a mushroom spore print
  6. Naturally, lighter spore prints will show up better on darker paper and vice versa. To accurately gauge the color some use both light and dark paper.
  7. Using a piece of glass or a microscope slide makes things a little easier, as you can place it on a black or white background later.
  8. Cover the mushroom with an upside down cup or bowl. This prevents air currents from disturbing the print.
  9. Let it sit for a few hours, overnight is ideal. When you remove the cup and mushroom there should be a pattern made by the spores.
  10. The color of the spores should be visible.

Identifying Wild Mushrooms

Spore prints alone aren’t enough to make a positive identification but their color can be an important trait to note.

How to make a mushroom spore print

After the print is made compare the color to the description in your guide books. Some color variations may seem objective (how many shades of white are there, anyway?). However, brown from pink should be easy enough to determine.

Below is a list of just some mushrooms and their known spore colors:

  • Shaggy Mane ( Coprinus comatus ) – black
  • Enokitake ( Flammulina velutipes ) – white
  • Reishi ( Ganoderma lucidum ) – brown
  • Maitake ( Grifola frondosa ) – white
  • Oyster Mushroom ( Pleurotus ostreatus ) – white or light purple
  • Turkey Tail ( Trametes versicolor ) – white
  • Amanita species – white
  • Black Trumpet ( Craterellus cornucopiodes ) – yellowish
  • King Bolete ( Boletus edulis ) – dark greenish brown
  • Chanterelle ( Cantharellus cibarius ) – white or yellow

Certain wild mushrooms, morels for example, don’t have obvious spore producing tissue such as gills or pores. Simply use the entire mushroom here and expect to see spores spread loosely around your specimen, not in a distinct pattern.

How to make a mushroom spore print

A fun, easy, and educational activity

Autumn is a great time to go mushroom hunting with the arrival of the season’s rain showers. If you’re keen to identify those species you find, it’s helpful to know the color of their spores.

If you would love to learn to identify and even possibly consume wild mushrooms, then making a print in order to determine their spore color is an essential activity to complete. Making spore prints is rewarding to do with kids and some prints are even pretty enough to frame!

How to make a mushroom spore print

White spores on black paper

Spores are the reproductive structures of all mushrooms and can be any color, including white, cream, yellow, green, purple, brown, rust or black. They are produced by the gills and released from them by the millions when the mushroom is mature. They are then blown away by the wind and settle in a new location to begin a new generation in the life cycle of the mushroom.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Mushroom life cycle

  1. Cut off the stem from a fresh specimen that has been open for less than two days.
  2. Set cap over adjacent black and white papers (this is because the spores may be black or white, thus wouldn’t show up if you chose just one of these paper colors.
  3. Cover mushroom cap with a sturdy box in order to increase humidity and prevent air currents from displacing the spores.
  4. After 24 hours, remove the box and the mushroom cap. Your spore print will be visible on one of the two pieces of paper.
  5. Once you have determined the spore color and which color of paper shows them off the best, you may want to repeat this process with that color of paper and a fresh mushroom cap in order to make a beautiful spore print suitable for framing!

Download my one-page cheat sheet (as seen below) on how to make a mushroom spore print.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Learn More About Fabulous Fungi

  • Learn more about mushrooms in my ‘Spooky Nature Facts’ story on Deadly Mushrooms.
  • Watch my mushrooms Sketching Tutorial.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Christine with Lion’s Mane and Lobster mushrooms

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September 18, 2017 2 min read

As the dog days of summer begin to give way to the cooler days of fall, we tend to have a lot of rain. And lots of rain means saturated soil! Add in a bit of warmth and you’ll see mushrooms of all types popping up all over your yard.

Of course, you can use those fungi fruiting bodies for a bit of nature study. But I love to save at least one of the caps to make mushroom spore prints!!

These prints are beautiful works of scientific art that you can make with minimal effort. Let’s dig in . . .

How to make a mushroom spore print

Once you have observed your mushroom outdoors, put on a pair of gloves and gently pull off the cap. You want to find a cap that is mostly, if not all the way, open. Then, head inside and get to work.

What you will need

  • Gloves
  • Mushroom Cap
  • Paper
  • Glass Bowl
  • Water
  • Hairspray (optional)

How to make a mushroom spore print

1. Put on the gloves before harvesting your mushroom cap. Then, head outside to cut off your selected mushroom cap and place the cap, gill side down, on the center of your piece of paper.

2. Head back inside and set the paper on a dark part of your counter where it won’t be disturbed for the next 24 hours. Sprinkle the cap with a bit of water, not too much, just a bit to moisten it. Then, cover the cap with an inverted glass bowl.

3. The next day, remove the bowl. Put the gloves back on and gently peel back the mushroom cap to observe the mushroom spore prints you have made!

Wrapping it up

If you want to preserve your spore print, simply spray the paper with hairspray and let that dry before framing the print!

Learn more about two common mushrooms with these InstaScience posts:

How to make a mushroom spore print

This video is about how you can make spore prints from varied varieties of mushrooms and what spore prints are used for. Spore prints are made by permitting spores of a fungal fruit physique to fall onto a floor beneath. The spores fall within the sample of the gills or pores of the mushroom and can fluctuate in shade relying on the kind of mushroom. Every spore is a single cell that’s able to sending out a hypha that can turn into a gaggle and type its personal mycelium. Spore prints can help with the identification of untamed mushrooms in addition to be used for mushroom cultivation. For mushroom cultivation, the mushroom spores are added to sterile water and put right into a syringe. The syringe needs to be examined on agar first to make sure that there is no such thing as a contamination earlier than utilizing it on grain spawn. The agar can then be used to make a liquid tradition or be added to grain spawn. Mushroom spores syringes are much less dependable when added on to grain spawn. So it may very well be higher to make use of the spore syringe to grown the fungus out on an agar dish and add that to the grain spawn.

– For mushroom identification, this picture will be printed:

In case you benefit from the channel, please help Von Malegowski:

0:00 Introduction
1:13 Mushrooms With Gills
2:35 Mushrooms with pores
3:25 Different Forms of Mushrooms
4:18 Extra Issues
4:49 Spore Prints For Cultivation

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Music: Meteor
Tracks: Proctor Valley Street, Shoot ‘Em Up!

Photographs and Movies Artistic Commons Attribution:
– Lobster mushroom / Hypomyces lactifluorum, by: momentaryvitality CC License (
– Mushrooms in might. Boletusm by: The Cult Of The Forest CC License (
Large Morel Mushrooms At The Farm | April 2020, by: DIAMOND MINER CC License (
– Bought a Cylocybe mushroom spore syringe? What are these sq. caps. by Cylocybe CC License (
– How one can Put together Mycelium Tradition of Mushroom (Half 2/4), by R-Open Training CC License (
– Figuring out the Terracotta Hedgehog, Hydnum rufescens, by Wild Meals UK CC License (
– Coral fungus grows on forest flooring 🔴, by Artistic Commons Media CC License (
Puffball mushroom قارچكى پزليك, by Taimur Hassan Ghafoor CC License (
– Puffball Mushrooms in SloMo, by Wally Roth CC License (

#mushrooms #sporeprint #mycology #VonMalegowski
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It’s time to deal with plants and creating spore printing with mushroom is really fun. Natural science activities for bubbling little kids.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Spore printing can be made with plants and this fungi mushroom is so easy to do. Even your 3-year-old little one will do it in no time.

This experiment is part of the natural science experiment and best suited for preschool going kids and KG kids . My younger one Tisha had a great time doing this experiment.

However, elder ones will add more creativity to it and they will scrap off the pores or explore them using microscopes. So it is good to go for all kids.

Follow these simple steps and making spore prints with mushroom is so easy

Use any type of mushrooms like the large one or the tiny button type to do spore printing. There are many colors of mushroom spore-like black, brown, etc. Even the shapes vary from one to the other. So pick from the garden and try exploring with kids.

This time I used the large mushroom available in fields and they are called as an open cap or portobello mushroom . We bought it from the local store.

Things required

  • Water
  • Hairspray
  • Knife
  • White paper
  • Mushroom

Step #1: Look for a mushroom with protected gills. In case they are exposed, then use the one that is fresh.

Caution: Wild mushrooms are poisonous so be careful and let kids not keep them in their mouth. Make sure to practice washing hands every time after any activity.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step #2: Remove the lower part and just retain the gills. Let the stem inside the gills be present until it is present inside.

If you know it is safe to eat, then let the kids eat the cut portion of the stem. Tisha loves to eat and play with such food items.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step #3: Keep the mushroom top side with the gills on the paper with the gills resting on the paper. The umbrella type top will be seen on the other side. Use a thick paper as we did it with a normal A4 sheet and it bloated a bit.

Step #4: Place water droplets on the cap and this will ensure the spore to make an impression on the paper due to the wetness. Close with a box and cover it completely. Do not disturb for 12 hours or one full night. The night is best as kids will go to sleep. Otherwise, my Tisha will keep on checking to open the box out of curiosity.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step #5: In the morning take the box out and you will be amazed to the spore printed on the paper. It will look so cool with minute prints of the spores.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Though they are tiny they give a gorgeous look and the gills will look perfectly impressed.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Using the hairspray preserve the print for a longer time. But allow it to dry after spraying.

Remove some spores using a needle and see them through the microscope. Put some water on the spore and cover it. This time we missed it and planning to try next time for sure.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Based on the weather at home, humidity, and heat the mushroom will be available to be cooked after leaving the spore impression on the paper. But make sure it is in good condition before you decide to grill or toast it.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Mushroom belongs to the fungi plant family.

The reproduction of mushroom happens by the spore getting released and these germinate into a new plant.

The spore is very tiny and requires a microscope to view through. Each matured mushroom will contain 1000s of spores and on one single gill.

They come in many colors namely black, brown, white, etc. Also, in different size, and shade.

Check this out for several innovative ideas to make spore printing with mushroom.

How to make a mushroom spore print

We are trying for the 2 nd time and feel easy than the first time. I am planning to collect many mushrooms and try different printings. Soon you can expect exclusive page for mushroom spore printing. Stay connected with us.

How to make a mushroom spore print

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Psilocybe cubensis var “Ecuador” was originally discovered in Ecuador, high in the mountains. This variety developed in a tough environment and is a hardy variety. Truly genetics that any collector wants!

Spore prints are single prints on foil.
Spore prints are sent in a ziplock bag with “Microscopy use only” written on the ziplock.

Spore prints will be labelled with an acronym for the variety or with the full variety name or, if it is a single print, the ziplock may be labelled.

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How to make a mushroom spore print


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MMM is 75% a 1 person operation. My partner helps with packaging but MMM runs everything else including making spore syringes and swabs and gourmet items. As such, I try to be available ASAP but may not answer right away. I do everything I can to respond ASAP but I am most available at these times below. I try to answer emails on the weekends at least once or twice a day, but may be busy so please be patient when messaging outside these times. Thank you!

How to make a mushroom spore print

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  • April 12, 2015

Whether you’re simply curious about the mushrooms growing in your back yard, or you desire to wander into the woods for coveted edibles, it can be hard to know where to start with identification. Here are some basics to get you started, have fun!

Let’s take a look at the typical mushroom structure:

*Sack/Volva: The sack is a remnant of the ‘universal veil’ that once enclosed the entire mushroom. This universal veil encases and protects a baby mushroom, as the mushroom grows, it brakes out of the universal veil and develops into it’s mature form, leaving behind the remnants of it’s sack around it’s stem. Only specific mushrooms have this feature.

*Ring/Skirt: A ring is left over from a ‘partial veil’ that once covered a mushroom’s gills. A partial veil covers the mushroom’s gills to protect them, as the mushroom grows and matures, the veil brakes away revealing the gills and leaving behind tissue on the stem.

Here are some questions to ask as you examine a mushroom:

  • Stem/Stalk:
    • Color, shape, does it change colors or ooze fluid when broken or pinched?
    • Any distinctive odors?
    • Is there a ‘ring’ from left over veil tissue on it? Or a sac/volva at the base of the stalk from a universal veil?
    • What is the stalk attached to, is it growing from dirt, debris, dead wood, a live tree?
  • Cap:
    • Color, is it different than the stem?
    • Does it have any unique textures, spots, striations or a distinctive shape?
    • Any distinctive odors? (Other than ‘dirt’ and ‘mushroomy’)
    • Does it bruise, change colors or ooze liquid when pinched or scratched?
  • Underside of Cap:
    • What does the underside of the cap look like? Gills are most common, but they may also have spines, a spongy pore layer, a hard pore surface…etc

Here are a few variations of what the underside may look like:

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

These observations will get you started, but this next step will exponentially fast forward your identification process.

Spore printing:

I love doing this, I feel like I get to collaborate with the mushroom on an art project, here are the ‘need to knows’ about spore printing.

What is a spore print? Collecting a mass of mushroom spores in order to observe the color of them.

Why do we need to know the mushroom’s spore color? Knowing the spore color can make identifying easier and much more accurate. Knowing the spore color is a way to categorize mushrooms in similar fashion to a library separating books by topical category. Spore color can confirm identification of edibles verses poisonous mushrooms.

How to make a spore print:

  • Collect fresh mushroom specimens
  • Carefully remove cap from the stalk
  • Lay cap on a piece of paper with gills (or pores/spines) down
  • Place glass bowl over specimen, this prevents the mushroom from drying too fast and safeguards the spores from airflow
  • Wait approximately 5-10 hours (sometimes longer if specimen wasn’t mature, or less if was already in the process of releasing it’s spores)
  • Remove bowl and mushroom cap from paper, left behind should be a deposit of spores.

How to make a mushroom spore printWhat if your spore print didn’t work? Here are a few tips.

  • You may need to let the mushroom sit longer, the spores may have not released yet.
  • Your spores may be the same color as the paper you used, making them hard to see. This is especially true for white spores on white paper, hold the paper at an angle up to the light to check for the texture of the spore deposit. (To avoid this problem, use foil or glass to make your print on.)
  • Make sure your mushrooms aren’t water logged when setting them on paper, let them air dry before trying to print, otherwise the paper will simply become a soggy mess.

There’s nothing that will sharpen your observation skills quite like mushroom identification, with these things in mind, you will be well on your way to identifying proficiently!

But what if your mushroom doesn’t have a cap and stem, or looks more like a sea creature than a mushroom or is just a lumpy bumpy jelly mass growing from a tree? Mother nature sure enjoys marching to the beat of her own drum and the anomalies that are displayed in mushrooms can either frustrate or fascinate. Don’t loose heart, enjoy the oddball mushrooms and over time you will become familiar with more and more species.

The next step will be taking the information you’ve gathered and applying it to an identification field guide!

Once you’re ready to take the leap into purchasing a field guide, do yourself a huge favor and find a local book. For example, I live in Washington State, and my go-to book is “Mushrooms of the Pacific Northwest” by Steve Trudell and Joe Ammirati. Buying a universal field guide will have many species not native to your area that you’ll have to filter through making the identification process much longer than necessary.

My Best And Final Piece Of Advise As You Get Started:

Choose one mushroom to identify first, then build from there. Don’t overwhelm yourself by trying to learn an entire forest of mushrooms as you get started! You will not always succeed in identifying-but do not base your success off how many mushrooms you correctly ID, but rather what you learn in the process.

“Do not consume wild mushrooms unless they have been correctly identified as safe for consumption. The tips listed here are merely guidelines to begin the identification process, not a source for exact identification.”

How to make a mushroom spore print

Introduction: How to Grow Wild Mushrooms Mycelium From Spores (experimental)

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

How to make a mushroom spore print

Life on earth, as we know it, wouldn’t exist without mushrooms. Mushroom’s are the fruiting bodies (reproductive structures) of mycelium. You can think of mycelium like an apple tree, and the mushroom is akin to an apple. Fungi produce fruiting bodies, so as to distribute spores over a large geographic area. Spores are distributed by wind, water, insects, birds and animals. When two spores of the same species land close together in a favorable environment, they combine and make mycelium. This is a form of sexual reproduction, as each spore only contains half of the genetic material (similar to gametes) required to make a viable offspring.

Fungi are responsible for breaking down all kinds of difficult to digest long chain carbohydrates like lignin, that mammals and most bacteria struggle with. As mycelium travels through a substrate, they produce complex enzymes that are very efficient at breaking down organic matter. As these organic molecules and minerals are broken down into simpler substances, they become more bioavailable for bacteria and plants to use. Mycelial mats can spread out over several square kilometers, stabilizing soil, increasing water content and even transporting nutrients around. Experiments have been conducted using radiotagged nutrients showing mycelium moving the nutrients between tree’s as demand for nutrients change. In other words, two trees of different species are connected by a common mycelial mat. One tree is producing too much, another doesn’t have enough. The mycelium was shown to move the nutrients from the over-producer, to the under producer. An interesting strategy, ensuring that the mycelium doesn’t lose one of its hosts! Mycelium can act like a nutrient highway between plants.

Mycelium, in some cases, form symbiotic relationships with plants and tree’s called mycorhyzae. In latin, this literally means fungus-roots. The mycorhyzae surround, and permeate root systems of plants, protecting them from bacterial invasion, as well as making more nutrients available for the plant to absorb. In exchange for this protection, the plant provides nutrients for the fungus to eat. Famous examples of this include the whole truffle family and all legumes.

Experiments have been done with Douglas fir plantations, showing that seedlings planted with fungus innoculated woodchips around the base grow faster, and produce a bushier more healthy tree than seedlings without. (Source). Truly, fungi are our friends.

The ultimate goal to my experiment is to try and fabricate outdoor raised vegetable patches by innoculating large beds of wood chips and straw with locally adapted, wild edible mushrooms. Hopefully, the mycelial mats that develop with excel at retaining moisture and making tons of natural bio-available nutrients for plants to grow in.

n his book, Mycelium Running, Paul Stammets describes several methods on how to reproduce wild mushrooms using simple aseptic techniques. Outlined below describes how you make a spore print of a mushroom on clean corrugated cardboard, and then grow a mycelium mat used to innoculate a substrate such as woodchips or straw. Stammets suggests using local, wild mushrooms as they have adapted to the local host of competing bacteria and protozoa. This means that it is less critical to work in absolutely sterile environments typically seen in mushroom grow farms, as the mushroom has developed ways to defend against these competitors.

Equipment and Materials

  • Wild Mushroom (The one I used is likely a member of the Leucoagaric species. Some of which are edible, some of which are not. They can look like the “destroying angel” mushroom, which is highly poisonous. I won’t be eating this mushroom, as I can’t be sure as to the identity.)
  • Corrugated Cardboard
  • Rubbing Alcohol/Isopropyl alcohol
  • Ammonia water solution (Just buy a bottle of cheap household ammonia cleaner).
  • Boiling water.
  • Plastic Container/Ziplock bag.
  • Spray bottle for ammonia solution
  • Pyrex Dish
  • Saran Wrap/Cling Film


  1. Fill a spray bottle with ammonia sanitizer solution.
  2. Fill your kettle, set it to boil.
  3. Cut the cardboard to size, it should lay flat in a ziplock bag or plastic container.
  4. Thoroughly clean your hands with warm water and soap.
  5. Wipe down your work surface with a clean papertowel, and sanitizer solution. Let dry.
  6. Wipe down your work surface and hands with paper towel and alcohol.
  7. Put your cardboard in a pyrex dish, fill with boiling water. Cover with Saran wrap, let sit for 1 hour.
  8. Once water has cooled down, wash your hands, wipe down the area again. Wipe the inside of your incubating chamber with alcohol.
  9. Squeeze out all of excess moisture from the cardboard. Remove the smooth upper layer, exposing the corrugations.
  10. Gently place your mushroom cap gills facing down onto the corrugations, and place your mushroom in the plastic container. Close the lid. Place the top layer of cardboard over the mushroom cap.
  11. Wait 12 hours, Clean your hands, remove the mushroom cap, leaving the top smooth layer on the corrugations.
  12. Put your incubation chamber into a dark, warm location. and wait!

Step 1: Collect a Wild Mushroom

Go for a walk, and collect a mushroom. The one pictured here may or may not be edible. I’m using this one, as I found it just outside my house, and will just be used as a proof of concept.

Step 2: Prepare Your Cardboard.

  1. Sanitize your work area and hands
  2. Soak cardboard in a covered heat proof container for 1 hour
  3. Sanitize work area and hands.
  4. Squeeze out excess moisture from cardboard, so that it is soaked but water doesn’t drip out when squeezed. This is known as field condition.
  5. Peel back the upper layer of cardboard, revealing the corrugations. Place mushroom cap gills down on corrugations, and then cover mushroom cap with uncorrugated layer. Lay the whole thing inside of a sanitized plastic container or bag for 12 hours.
  6. After 12 hours, spores should have dropped from the gills onto the cardboard. Remove the cap and discard (or eat, if using an edible mushroom.)
  7. Wait until mycelium engulfs the cardboard. If green mould shows up, try again, but me more dilligent with sanitizing everything.

Step 3: Day 1

Pictured here is the mushroom cap on the cardboard, waiting for spores to deposit. No mycelial growth thus far. More pictures to follow, as I remember to update 🙂

How to make a mushroom spore print

On the way home from church I spotted a fairy ring of mushrooms I believed were Chlorophyllum molybdites.

I stopped the car and turned around to take a closer look. There was a pretty good patch going on a mowed and empty lot.

Since I couldn’t carry the delicate things and drive at the same time, I handed three of them to my helpful wife to hold until we got home. She complained a lot… but didn’t drop them.

When we got home I showed the children how to make spore prints. If you’ve never made them before, it’s a fun exercise as well as being very helpful in identifying your mushroom’s species.

Step 1: Pick Some Mushrooms

This is easy and fun. Just don’t eat them because death.

Step 2: Get Some Paper

Take it from Dad’s printer. He won’t care.

Step 3: Cut Off the Stems

This is important. If you don’t do it, your spore prints will look blurry and stupid.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step 4: Lay the Caps on Your Paper

Spore-side down, of course.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Step 5: Reveal Your (Well… God’s) Art!

How to make a mushroom spore print

Spray your mushroom spore prints with some sort of a fixative if you intend on framing them. They smudge very easily.

Alternately, you can print on glass… then scrape the spores off and spread them around your yard to start new mushrooms. I also toss the mushrooms I find right into the mulch of my food forest.

And that, my friends, is how you go about making spore prints from mushrooms.

If you’re ready to go deeper into mushroom foraging and hunting for wild edible mushrooms, I highly recommend picking up a few good guide books. I created a list here – check them out.

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Awesome! On my to do list (after double diggin the garden, at least its cooler today)

Looks like you got some cubies there. I used to eat them – a long time ago…..

What are edible mushrooms for beginners , that are common, easy to find , and forage in late July- August in Ohio? I can only seem to find poisonous ones!

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How to make a mushroom spore print

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Once you have a mature mushroom, you are in a position to make a spore print and use it to continue cultivation of mushrooms. The cap should be harvested when the mushroom cap has become flat or is starting to invert.

Sterility is key. Adaptation-25 Be careful not to do anything that will compromise the sterility of your spore print. The typical procedure is to cut the stalk off of a mature mushroom very close to the cap. A sterilized knife or razor blade is used to do this. The cap is then laid on a sterile piece of tissue paper or card stock and a small glass set over it. The glass is needed for two reasons. First, it keeps the spore print insulated from airborne contaminates. Secondly, it helps keep the humidity high so the mushroom cap can continue to live and drop its spores. One note of caution. Some humidity usually needs to be allowed to escape. You want the environment inside the glass to be slightly less humid than the environment in which the mushroom was grown. If you have problems getting a cap to drop its spores, try using a piece of paper for the print that fits entirely inside the glass and spreading out a wash cloth flat on the table. Let the edge of the glass seal to the wash cloth instead of the paper. This will usually allow enough humidity to escape to cause the cap to drop spores.

If everything goes well, after a day or two the cap will drop its spores. Adaptation-26 There will be a purple-brown dust underneath the cap. These are the spores.

Eye glass lens paper is good source of sterile tissue paper. A box of waxy tissue paper that deli’s use to pick up donuts and rolls is another excellent source of sterile tissue paper. Card stock (such as a recipe card) is a bit easier to use later when you want to prepare a spore syringe, but you have to expend the extra effort up front to sterilize it. To use card stock, place in a 425 degree F. oven for 15 minutes. Let it cool with a glass over it before you place the cap on it.

How to make a mushroom spore print

Once you have a spore print on the paper, remove the glass and cap. Fold the spore print in half and seal the edges so air can not get in. A piece of scotch tape on each side will do nicely. The spores will stay viable for 18 months if they are kept in a cool, dry and dark spot.

If you place a small amount of desiccant in the bottom of a film container and place a cotton ball on top of the desiccant, you have an ideal container to keep the spore print. The cotton ball will keep the desiccant from touching the spore print. Seal the spore print in the canister and place the canister in your refrigerator until you are ready to use it.

Note that if you want to be self sufficient, it is a good idea to have multiple spore prints and store them separately. You just never know when you are going to be surprised with a massive contamination problem or thermal death. The safest thing to do is have a couple viable spore prints so it is easier to recover from disaster. A spore print is typically viable for about a year if it is stored in a cool, dark location. As a print ages, germination gets slower and this process becomes more prone to contamination.

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    The humble , proven , sometimes maligned PF tek cake method is a great place to start with those spores .

    #5 syner

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  • I usually make up a spore syringe first.

    Then, I get these short, stubby looking 250mL baby bottles (makes it easier to draw up solution when they’re short), invert the nipple and fill with silicone.
    I fill with 4% honey and pressure cook with the lids unscrewed a little to stop a vacuum. As soon as they’ve cooled, tighten the lids.

    I then inoculate the baby bottles with my spore syringe. This way, if my LC contaminates, I at least have a spore syringe to go back to..

    Note: I’ve only made two LCs using this method that I can confirm have been tested and work..

    I know people get a bit funny about multi-spore LC and the contamination risk, and will recommend doing grain LC instead.. But I do this anyway in addition to keeping a spore syringe on hand.
    I figure if I test an LC and it works okay, I can propagate it and not have to worry about going back to spores too often.

    I treat my LC as a quick starter and as it’s multi-spore, there should be a fair bit of genetic diversity. My ultimate aim though is to get some good clones and only revert back to multi-spore LC
    if I want to go back to the drawing board and select more clones again.

    The main reason that fungi grow mushrooms is to produce and distribute their spores. These spores come in a variety of colors. Most spores are some shade of white, pink, brown or black There are also unusual spore colors like orange, yellow and green. In identifying boletes and gilled mushrooms, it can be very helpful to know the color of the mushroom’s spores. Since the individual spores are microscopic, to see their color without using a microscope you have to find or create a situation where there are many spores in the same place.
    Sometimes this can be done by spotting a natural spore deposit on the mushroom or its surroundings; at other times you have to make a spore print, where you leave the mushroom on a piece of paper (or other medium) overnight. Another place where you find spores is on the gills of the mushrooms where they are created.

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    The gills of a mushroom may change color as it grows and the spores mature – here changing them from white to a dark purplish brown. You can also see zones on the stem where the spores have dropped and colored the stem like the gills.

    The simplest way to figure out a mushroom’s spore color is to look at the gills or pores. This is where the spores grow, so as more and more of them are produced, they change the gills (or pores) to their color. The photo above shows the color progression of the gills as a dark-spored mushroom matures. When it is young, its gills are white, as they are in many mushrooms, regardless of spore color. But as more and more of the spores mature, the gill color changes to a dark brown, which is closer and closer to the color of the spores.

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    The uppermost Psathyrella here has dropped its spores on the cap of another, coloring it like the gills of the mushroom at the right.

    Here, the upper mushroom on the left has deposited its spores on the cap of the mushroom beneath it, so you can see the spore color directly. Note also the color of the gills of the mushroom on the right: they are in between the color of the spore deposit and the original white of the gills.

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    The orange spores of this Gymnopilus have covered its host log and the surrounding leaf litter.
    Photo by Leon Shernoff

    Boletes and spore color

    With boletes, there are only a few situations where spore color gives you information that you wouldn’t get otherwise from the mushroom, and you usually get the spore color from the surface of the pores. For instance, some boletes in the genera Boletus and Tylopilus look very similar, but diverge as they mature. In this Tylopilus, the pore surface on the young mushrooms is pure white. But on the mature specimen at the top, the pores have turned a sort of brownish lilac, about halfway between that pure white and the pinkish brown spore color that is the key feature of Tylopilus:

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    The pore surface of this Tylopilus starts out white, but is colored a brownish pink by its developing spores as it grows.

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    This mushroom’s pores have turned the olive-yellow typical of the genus Boletus.
    Photo by Eleanor Yarrow

    Spore prints

    If you can’t find a spore deposit on the mushroom itself, you may have to create the appropriate conditions yourself. If you remove the stem from a mushroom and leave it on a sheet of white paper overnight, the mushroom may leave a thick enough spore deposit on the paper that you can get an idea of the color. This is called making a spore print. Here is a set of spore prints made from a collection of local Agaricus mushrooms, which have a dark brown spore print:

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    A set of Agaricus spore prints
    Photo by Dominic Saettone

    Spore color and partial veils

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    The brown spores of this Cortinarius have colored the wispy shreds of partial veil that still cling to the edge of its cap and corresponding places on the stem.

    Spores versus bruising

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    An undescribed silvery-blue Chicago Cortinarius. Its gills are gradually changing color from a deep purple to the brown of the spores.
    Photo by John Denk

    Note that when developing spores change the color of the gills, they do so gradually and smoothly. Here, a Cortinarius has purple gills originally, but they are gradually turning brown as its spores develop.

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    This mushroom’s gills are darkening in an irregular pattern, so it’s probably from bruising or insect bites, not from the maturing spores

    Gills also change color when they are cut or bruised. This may also be important for identifying the mushroom, but it does not indicate spore color. The color changes in the gills of this mushroom, for example, are the results of bruising or insect bites, not maturing spores.

    How to make a mushroom spore print

    Panaeolus gills produce their spores unevenly, resulting in a mottled appearance.
    Photo by Zaca

    Notice, however, that these gills are sort of evenly mottled throughout, showing that this is part of the natural development of the mushroom, not caused by a bruise or a localized insect attack. Note also the black annular zone on the stem, and the blackened shreds on the edge of the cap; these confirm what you would guess from the gill color: that this is a black-spored mushroom, and they also let you know that this mushroom started out with a partial veil.

    Other kinds of mushrooms

    Notice that I’ve only been discussing boletes and gilled mushrooms, and that almost all my examples are of gilled mushrooms. The distinction of Boletus vs Tylopilus is pretty much the only useful distinction that you can make among boletes by spore color, but even there (a) there are usually other ways you can get the same information and (b) most people collect boletes to eat, and by the time you can get a good spore print off a Boletus it’s usually too far-gone and wormy to eat. Spore color is also potentially helpful in identifying boletes in the genus Gyroporus (which has a bright yellow spore deposit) but the same issues apply: it’s simpler to just check for the hollow stem (another Gyroporus characteristic) and by the time they’ve deposited enough spores for a print, they’re usually too deteriorated to do anything with.
    With the other mushrooms that you’re likely to come across – ascomycetes and polypores – the spore color isn’t generally helpful in determining their identity, and it can be difficult or impossible to obtain: ascomycetes generally release their spores in one puff at a time, and if you miss it you’re out of luck; polypores are so tough that they often remain on the tree for long after they’ve stopped producing spores, so a spore print is impossible.

    Reishi mushrooms have been use for thousands of years for medicinal purposes, especially in Asian cultures. This is not a gourmet mushroom, but rather it’s used in teas and capsule form as well as extracts. It’s a beautiful mushroom that grows in a variety of shapes and sizes and is quite spectacular to watch grow. Reishi mushrooms are polypore mushrooms of the genus Ganoderma. This Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) mushrooms goes under many names in various cultures. This mushroom is also depicted in artwork in Asian cultures for many centuries. This mushroom is widely spread throughout the world from the Amazon in South America, the southern regions of North America and through out Asia. It’s more commonly found in subtropical regions. In nature this mushroom grows on oak and other hardwoods. For cultivating reishi mushrooms, they can also be grown on a variety of conifer and hardwood sawdust mixtures and wood chips. Once the mushroom starts to form, depending how it is grown, it will either take on and antler appearance, or large clam shell appearance called conks. These mushrooms form very slowly over a 50 day period and are great family projects as they are slow and beautiful to watch develop. Children really enjoy seeing reishi mushrooms grow and this is a great mushroom to introduce children to the hobby of fungi growing. These can be grown easily around the house in bottles such as 2 liter soda bottles in jars etc.. I find the Reishi mushroom one of the funnest and coolest mushroom to grow for it’s unique appearance, ease of growth, and shape shifting abilities.

    Growth Parameters

    Spawn run: 70-80°F (21°C-27°C), Humidity 95-100%, Time: 10-20 days;

    Primordia Formation “Antlers”: 65-75°F (18-25°C), Time: 14-28 days;

    Primordia Formation “Conk” : 70-80°F (21-27°C), Time: 14-28 days;

    Fruitbody Development: 70-80°F (21-27°C) Humidity 90-95% Time:3-5 days

    Fruiting Cycle: Two Crops 90-120 days

    Our Reishi mushorom spore prints are from clean lab cultivated mushrooms. Due to the low price the reishi spore print is excluded from any pricing specials.

    Related Articles

    Mushrooms are a favorite taste treat for many people, but they are also expensive and not always at their freshest by the time they reach the store. To get around this, try growing your own and harvesting the mushroom spores for future use. While it can seem a bit complicated at first, there’s nothing too difficult about it, and once you’ve tried it, you may never go back to buying them from the store again.

    Use the freshest mushrooms you can for your first spore collection. Mushrooms from the store may be too dry to give you good results, so try a farmer’s market or another source of fresh mushrooms.

    Mushroom Spore Harvest and Preservation

    1. Prepare Mushrooms for Spore Harvest

    Lay a new sheet of paper on a clean work surface. Cut the stem off of a mushroom and place the mushroom cap on the center of the paper, advises Cover the mushroom cap with a clean glass.

    2. View Collected Spores

    Leave the mushroom overnight. The next day, carefully remove the glass and the mushroom cap from the paper to reveal the spores that fell from the mushroom’s gills.

    3. Store Spores in the Fridge

    Fold the paper to lock in the spores. Slide the folded paper into a plastic bag and place it in the refrigerator for storage.

    Growing Mushroom Spores

    1. Sterilize a Flask

    Place an ounce or two of water in a small flask, then put a cotton ball in the top to prevent contamination. Sterilize the flask by microwaving it for three minutes. Don’t let it boil dry.

    Let it cool and repeat the process, then carefully remove it from the microwave, lightly cover it with a sheet of aluminum foil and allow it to come to room temperature. Sterilization is important because the conditions that favor mushrooms also favor various kinds of bacteria and other undesirable organisms.

    When microwaving items, they will be hot. Use caution when handling heated glassware or water.

    2. Sterilize Your Work Area

    Disinfect your work area with a 70-percent alcohol spray. Use alcohol hand sanitizer to remove germs from your hands.

    3. Spore Syringe Storage

    Remove the cotton ball from the flask and scrape the spores from the folded collection paper into the sterile water in the flask. Draw the spore-laden water into a sterile syringe.

    4. Prepare Vermiculite Mixture

    Put 3.5 cups of vermiculite in a bowl. Moisten it until it is slightly wet. Shake 1 cup of brown rice flour over the vermiculite and stir it in to evenly coat the vermiculite, advises Fun Fungi.

    5. Fill Jars with Vermiculite Mixture

    Fill six 1/2-pint jars to within 1/2 inch of the top with the vermiculite and rice flour mixture. Don’t pack it down in any way; it must stay light and loose. Add enough vermiculite to bring the level to the top.

    6. Poke Holes in the Lids

    Poke four small holes in the lid of each jar with a hammer and nail, spacing the holes equally around the outer edge of the lid. Screw the lids onto the jars.

    7. Sterilize the Prepared Jars

    Sterilize the jars by setting them in 1 inch of water and boiling them in a large pot for an hour and a half. Allow the jars to cool, then remove them from the pot.

    8. Disinfect Syringe Needle

    Disinfect the needle of the spore syringe by heating it in a flame until it turns red, then allowing it to cool without touching anything.

    9. Inoculate Jars with Spores

    Inoculate each jar with about 1.5 milliliters of spore solution from a syringe, placing one-quarter of the amount into each hole in the lid.

    10. Store Jars for Spore Growth

    Store the jars in a dark place at a temperature of 70 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave them alone until the spores begin to grow and colonize the entire jar, about 14 to 30 days.

    11. Adjust Light and Temperature

    Move them to a location where they will get indirect light and a constant temperature of about 70 degrees Fahrenheit. When you can see tiny brown mushrooms, they are ready to move.

    12. Dump Jars Into a Bucket

    Place a wet paper towel in the bottom of a bucket. Dump the contents of the jars into the bucket, then cover it with clear plastic wrap. Remove the wrap once a day to air out the container. When the mushrooms develop and their caps open, they are ready for harvesting.