The Shroomery Mushroom Glossary

This glossary is to serve as a reference for both beginners and the advanced. Please e-mail us if you have any definitions that you feel should be added here.

You are also invited to pay a visit to The Shroomery Mycology Glossary.

A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  all

A 
Abort A mushroom that for some reason ceases to grow and never reaches maturity
Acidic Having a pH lower than 7.
Adnate Where the Gills or tubes under the Cap of a Fungus are perpendicular to the Stipe or Stem at the point of attachment
Adnexed Where the Gills or tubes under the Cap of a Fungus sweep upwards before being attached to the Stem
Aerial mycelium Hyphal elements growing above the Agar surface.
Agar An extract from a seaweed used to solidify media. The agar used in mushrooms cultivation is usually available in powder form
Agaric A term describing mushrooms and toadstools having Gills beneath a Cap that is connected to a Stipe or Stem
Alkaline Having a pH greater than 7.
Annulus A ring of tissue left attached to the Stem of a mushroom or toadstool when the Veil connecting the Cap and Stem ruptures as the young fruitbody develops
Antibiotic A class of natural and synthetic compounds that inhibit the growth of or kill other microorganisms.
Ascomycetes A group of fungi that have in common that they produce their sexual Spores inside specialized cells (asci), which usually contain eight Spores
Aseptic Sterile condition: no unwanted organisms present
Aseptic technique Also Sterile technique. Manipulating sterile instruments or Culture media in such a way as to maintain sterility.
Autoclave Basically a big Pressure cooker, sometimes operating at higher pressure than 15 PSI, thus achieving Sterilization temperatures above 250°F.
Axenic Not contaminated; Gnotobiotic: Said esp. of a medium devoid of all living organisms except those of a single Species
B 
Bacteria Unicellular microorganisms that may cause Contamination in Culture work. Grain Spawn is very easily contaminated with bacteria. On the other hand there are some bacteria that are needed for the Fruiting of Agaricus. These are present in the Casing soil.
Basidiomycetes A group of fungi which produce their Spores externally on so called basidia. Often four Spores are produced per basidium. Many basidiomycetes show clamp connections on their hyphae, Ascomycetes never do
Basidium (pl. basidia): A cell that gives rise to a basidiospore. Basidia are characteristic of the Basidiomycetes.
Biological efficiency The definition of biological efficiency (BE) in mushroom cultivation is:
1 pound fresh mushrooms from 1 pound dry Substrate is 100% biological efficiency.
This definition was first used by the Agaricus industry to be able to compare different grow setups and Substrate compositions.
Note that this is not a true efficiency in thermodynamical terms!
The BE of Psilocybe cubensis is easily somewhere in the range of 200%.
Birthing Removing the fully colonized growth medium (like a cake from its jar) from whatever container it was kept in for Colonization purposes and placing in an environment conducive to Fruiting.
Bolete A group of fungi having tubes rather than Gills beneath the Cap
BRF Abbreviation for brown rice flour
Brown Rice Flour Ground Brown Rice
Buffer A system capable of resisting changes in pH even when acid or base is added, consisting of a conjugate acid-base pair in which the ratio of proton acceptor to proton donor is near unity.
Buffer A chemical system capable of resisting changes in pH even when acid or base is added, consisting of a conjugate acid-base pair in which the ratio of proton acceptor to proton donor is near unity.
C 
CaCl2 Calcium Chloride(Brand names: Damp-Rid, Damp-Gone, Damp B Gone, Damp Away..) Used as Desiccant.
CaCO3 Calcium carbonate, a Casing ingredient.
Calcium carbonate CaCO3, a Casing ingredient, contained in Limestone.
Cap The top part of a mushroom. Often conical or saucer-shaped, at least in the varieties generally discussed round here.
Carbon Dioxide A colorless, odorless, incombustible gas, CO2.
Formed during respiration, combustion, and organic decomposition.
Carpophore(s) Commonly known as "Mushrooms", the reproductive organs of the true body of the Fungus, formed by the web of Mycelium that colonize a Substrate.
Casing Some mushrooms need a covering layer of soil with a specific microflora for Fruiting. Casing materials include Peat, coco Coir and Vermiculite with addition of Limestone and crushed oystershells
CaSO4 Gypsum
Cellulose Glucose polysaccharide that is the main component of plant cell walls. Most abundant polysaccharide on earth.
Clone A population of individuals all derived asexually from the same single parent. In mushroom cultivation placing a piece of mushroom tissue on Agar medium in order to obtain growing Mycelium is called cloning.
CO2 Carbon Dioxide
Cobweb Mold Common name for Dactylium, a mold that is commonly seen on the Casing soil or parisitizing the mushroom. It is cobweb-like in appearance and first shows up in small scattered patches and then quickly runs over the entire surface of the Casing soil.
Coir Coco coir. A short coarse fiber from the outer husk of a coconut. Used as a Casing ingredient. Brand names include Bed-A-Beast .
Colonization The period of the mushroom cultivation starting at Inoculation during which the Mycelium grows through the Substrate until it is totally permeated and overgrown.
Compost The fermented (or fermenting) Substrate. The reason for composting Substrate in mushroom cultivation is to make it more selective for the desired mushroom
Coniferous Pertaining to Conifers, which bear woody cones containing naked seeds.
Contamination Undesired foreign organisms(contaminants) in a growing medium. Often ocurring due to insufficient sterilisation or improper sterile technique.
Cottony Having a loose and coarse texture. Referred to a growth pattern of some fungi Species or strains.
Culture Mushroom Mycelium growing on a culture medium.
Culture medium Micro organisms differ in their nutritional needs. A large number of different growth media have been developed, PD(Y)A(potato dextrose(yeast extract) agar) and MEA (malt extract agar) can be used for most cultivated mushrooms
D 
Deciduous Trees and plants that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season.
Desiccant An anhydrous(waterless) substance, usually a powder or gel, used to absorb water from other substances. Two commonly used types are calcium hydroxide or silica gel
Dextrose A simple sugar used in Agar formulations. Also called Glucose
Dicaryotic mycelium Contains the nuclei of both 'sexes' and can therefore produce Fruiting bodies
Diffusion The movement of suspended or dissolved particles from a more concentrated region to a less concentrated region as a result of the random movement of individual particles. Diffusion tends to distribute particles uniformly throughout the available volume.
Disinfection To cleanse so as to destroy or prevent the growth of microorganisms, usually referring to rubbing or spraying the surfaces one wants to disinfect with lysol, diluted bleach solutions or alcohol.
E 
Endospore A metabolically dormant state of Bacteria in which they are more resistant to heat, chemicals, etc.
Enzyme A protein, synthesized by a cell, that acts as a catalyst in a specific chemical reaction.
F 
FC Fruiting Chamber
Fermentation In mushroom cultivation the process of composting. Easily accessible nutrients will be degraded by micro organisms which makes the Substrate more selective. Unwanted fermentation may occur if the Compost is still very 'active' or if thick layers or large bags are used. In that case the temperature inside the Substrate will rise too high for the desired Mycelium
Field capacity Content of water, on a mass or volume basis, remaining in a soil after being saturated with water and after free drainage is negligible.
Flow Hood A fan powered and HEPA filtered device that produces a laminar flow of contam free air. The air moves across the workspace allowing for open sterile work without the hassle and inconvience of a Glovebox
Flush The sudden development of many Fruiting bodies at the same time. Usually there is a resting period between flushes
Fractional sterilization A Sterilization method used to destroy Bacteria and Spores in preparation of grain spawn(rye, wheat, birdseed...) which requires no Pressure cooker. In this case, the jars fitted with a filter or a Polyfil lid filter are boiled or steamed 212°F (100°C) for 30 min in a covered pot, three days in a row. Between the boiling steps the jars are best kept warm, around 30°C, to allow the remaining Spores to germinate. The basic principle behind this method is that any resistant Spores should germinate after the first heating and therefore be susceptible to killing during the second and third heating.
Fruiting The Mycelium will form mushrooms in its reproductive stage. This is called fruiting as the mushrooms are actually the fruiting bodies of the Mycelium
Fruiting Body A mushroom. The part of the mushroom that grows above ground.
Fruiting chamber A enclosed space with high humidity and air exchange where mushrooms fruit under proper conditions.
See druiting chambers.
Fungicide A class of pesticides used to kill fungi, primarily those which cause diseases of plants.
Fungus A group of organisms that includes mushrooms and molds. These organisms decompose organic material, returning nutrients to the soil.
G 
G2G Grain to grain transfer. Inoculation of grain by already colonized grain.
Genotype The set of genes possessed by an individual organism.
Geolite One of several brand names/varieties of clay aggregate medium (also known as LECA for light expanded clay aggregate). It is a lightweight, porous Substrate with excellent aeration.
Germination The spreading of hyphae from a spore
Gills The tiny segments on the underside of the Cap. This is where the Spores come from.
Glovebox A glovebox is a device used to Isolate an area for work with potentially hazardous substances or materials which need to be free from direct contact with the outside environment for any reason. Most gloveboxes are small, tightly enclosed boxes having a glass panel for viewing inside and special airtight gloves which a person on the outside can use to manipulate objects inside.
Glucose Dextrose
Grow Chamber Terrarium
Gypsum Calcium sulfate, CaSO4. A greyish powder used in Spawn making. It prevents the clumping of the grain kernels and acts as a pH-buffer.
H 
H2O2 Hydrogen peroxide. A clear aqueous solution usualy available in concentrations from 3% to 30%. Used in a novel mushroom growing approach by Rush Wayne.
Hay Grass that has been cut, left to dry in the field and then baled. It is fed to livestock through the winter when fresh grass is not available. The color of hay is greenish-grey.
HEPA High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. A high efficiency filer used in Flow Hood
Hygrometer An instrument for measuring relative humidity ( rh )
Hypha(e) Filamentous structure which exhibits apical growth and which is the developmental unit of a Mycelium.
I 
In vitro From the Latin, in glass, isolated from the living organism and artificially maintained, as in a Petri dish or a jar.
Incubation The period after Inoculation (preferably at a temperature optimal for mycelial growth) during which the Mycelium grows vegetatively
Inoculation Introduction of Spores or Spawn into Substrate
Isolate A Strain of a Fungus brought into pure Culture (i.e. isolated) from a specific environment
L 
Lamellae The Gills of a mushroom
LC Liquid Culture
Lignin A complex polymer that occurs in woody material of higher plants. It is highly resistant to chemical and enzymatic degradation. The white rot fungi are known for their lignin degrading capability.
Limestone Calcium carbonate - CaCO3. A white powder. Used to rise the pH of a Casing.
Liquid culture Liquid cultures are used to expand Mycelium into a liquid solution to inoculate grain Spawn.
M 
Magic Mushroom Any of a number of Species of fungi containing the alkaloids psilocybin and/or psilocin. Common Species are the 'Liberty Cap' (Psilocybe semilanceata) and Psilocybe cubensis. There are dozens of others.
Maltose Malt sugar, used in Agar formulations
Martha Refers to a Fruiting chamber based on a Martha Stewart translucent vinyl closet.
MEA Malt Extract Agar
Metabolism The biochemical processes that sustain a living cell or organism.
Multispore Refers to an Inoculation of spore suspension into a Substrate where multiple germinations and matings occur. Typically used for PF cakes.
Mycelium The portion of the mushroom that grows underground. Plants have roots; mushrooms have mycelium. Mycelium networks can be huge. The largest living thing in the world is a single underground mycelium complex.
Mycorrhiza A symbiotic association between a plant root and fungal hyphae.
O 
Overlay A dense mycelial growth that covers the Casing surface and shows little or no inclination to form pinheads. Overlay directly results from a dry Casing, high levels of Carbon Dioxide and/or low humidity.
Oyster shells Ground oyster shells are used as an additive in a Casing. They give the Casing a better structure and Buffer the pH.
P 
Parasitic Fungi that grow by taking nourishment from other living organisms
Pasteurization Heat treatment applied to a Substrate to destroy unwanted organisms but keeping favourable ones alive. The temperature range is 60°C to 80°C(140°F-175°F). The treatment is very different from Sterilization, which aims at destroying all organisms in the Substrate .
PDA Potato Dextrose Agar
PDYA Potato Dextrose Yeast Agar
Peat Unconsolidated soil material consisting largely of undecomposed, or only slightly decomposed, organic matter accumulated under conditions of excessive moisture. Used as Casing ingredient in mushroom culture.
Perlite Perlite is a very light mineral, often found next to the Vermiculite in gardening stores. It has millions of microscopic pores, which when it gets damp, allow it to 'breathe' lots of water into the air, making it humid. Mushrooms like humidity when they're Fruiting.
Peroxidated Agar Agar made with H2O2 for the purpose of retarding Contamination with mold Spores and Bacteria. Not suitable for use with Spores, only Mycelium.
Petri dish A round glass or plastic dish with a cover to observe the growth of microscopic organisms. The dishes are partly filled with sterile growth medium (or sterilized after they have been filled). Petri dishes are much used to grow the mycellum which will inoculate the mother Spawn.
PF Psylocybe Fanaticus. The original spore provider and originator of the PF-Tek, one of the original home growing techniques on which many others are based.
pH A measure to describe the acidity of a medium. pH 7 is neutral; higher means Alkaline, lower Acidic
Pileus The Cap of a mushroom or toadstool
Pinhead A term to describe a very young mushroom when the Cap has the size of a pin
Polyfil A polyester fiber that resembles synthetic cotton. Found at fabric stores, WalMart, arts & craft stores. Also used as a filter medium for aquariums.(filter floss)
Used as a jar lid filter in preparation of grain Spawn.
Pressure cooker A pot with a tight lid in which things can be cooked quickly with steam under higher pressure. The reason for it is that at 15 PSI (pound per square inch) pressure the water boils at a higher temperature (250°F, 121°C) than at ambient pressure.(212°F, 100°C). In mushroom cultivation used to sterilize substrates and Agar media.
Primordium The initial Fruiting body, the stage before Pinhead
Psilocybin, Psilocin Hallucinogenic organic compounds found in some mushrooms
Pure culture An isolated Culture of a micro organism; organism without any other micro organisms. Pure cultures are essential to the Spawn production process.
R 
Rhyzomorph Root-like. An adjective used to describe the appearance of the Mycelium of some mushroom strains. Rhyzomorphic growing Mycelium is usually a sign of a well Fruiting Strain.
Rice Cake Many of the growing methods involve making a 'cake' of brown rice flour( BRF ), Vermiculite and water, and injecting it with mushroom Spores. Not a rice cake like you'd buy in a supermarket!
Rye A hardy annual cereal grass related to wheat.
Lat.:Secale cereale.
In mushroom cultivation rye grain is used as Spawn medium.
Ryegrass A perennial grass widely cultivated for pasture and Hay and as a lawn grass.
Lat.:Lolium perenne.
Seeds used as Substrate for P. mexicana and P. tampanensis.
S 
Saprophyte A Fungus that grows by taking nourishment from dead organisms
Sclerotium A hard surfaced resting body of fungal cells resistant to unfavorable conditions,which may remain dormant for long periods of time and resume growth on the return of favorable conditions.
Secondary metabolite Product of intermediary Metabolism released from a cell, such as an antibiotic.
Selective medium Medium that allows the growth of certain types of microorganisms in preference to others. For example, an antibiotic-containing medium allows the growth of only those microorganisms resistant to the Antibiotic.
Set, Setting, and Dosage Where you are, what you're doing/feeling/thinking and how much mushroom you have taken. By the time you've read the FAQs, and grown a batch of your own, you'll probably have a good idea of how much mushroom you'll need to get where you want to go. Recommended settings are: anywhere natural with as few people as possible (the woods, the beach, a park, a nature reserve); anywhere you know you'll have privacy for the duration. If you're living with your parents, you probably don't want them walking in on you while you're curled up in a corner, giggling happily at the wallpaper.
Simmer To cook just below or at the boiling point.
Slant A test tube with growth medium, which has been sterilized and slanted to increase the surface area
Spawn The pure Culture of Mycelium on grain, sawdust, etc., used to inoculate the final Substrate
Spawn run The vegetative growth period of the Mycelium after spawning the Substrate
Species Fundamental unit of biological taxonomy. Generally spoken, two individuals belong to the same species if they can produce fertile offspring
Spore Print A piece of paper or glass that has the Spores that have fallen off of a Cap.
Spore Syringe Many of the techniques for growing mushrooms indoors involve mixing up a Spore Print with some water, and injecting the result into a sterile container full of something the Spores can infect, produce Mycelium in, and eat. Several companies will sell you ready-to-use spore syringes for a few pounds/dollars. This site has links to, or address for, many of these companies.
Spores What mushrooms have instead of seeds. Absolutely microscopic, but produced by the millions by each and every mushroom.
Stamets, Paul The owner of Fungi Perfecti and mushroom guru. The co-author of The Mushroom Cultivator and many other helpful books.
Stem The Stipe or stalk of a growing mushroom.
Sterilization Completely destroying all micro organisms present, by heat(autoclave, pressure cooker) or chemicals. Spawn Substrate always has to be sterilized prior to Inoculation.
Stipe The Stem of a mushroom at the top of which the Cap or Pileus is attached
Strain The equivalent of race in plants and animals. The same Species may consist of strains that vary considerably in genetic make up, but all are sexually compatible
Straw The dried remains of fine-stemmed plants(wheat, Rye, barley...) from which the seed has been removed in threshing. Straw has a golden color.
Stroma Dense mycelial growth without Fruiting. Stroma occurs if Spawn is mishandled or exposed to harmful petroleum-based fumes or chemicals. It also occurs in dry environments.
Substrate Whatever you're using to grow the mushrooms on. Different varieties of mushroom like to eat different things (rice, Rye grain, Straw, Compost, woodchips, birdseed). Different techniques involve infecting substrates with anything from Spores, to chopped-up Mycelium, to blended mushroom.
T 
Tek Short for Technique. Often prefaced with something to tell you what type of Tek; e.g. PF-Tek, for Psylocybe Fanaticus Technique, one of the original home growing techniques on which many others are based.
Terrarium A small enclosure or closed container in which selected living plants, fungi and sometimes small land animals, such as turtles and lizards, are kept and observed.
Tissue culture Tissue cultures are the simplest way to obtain a mycelial Culture. A tissue Culture is essentially a Clone of a mushroom. Clone is defined as an identical duplicate of an organism. The basic procedure is to sterilely remove a piece of the mushroom Cap or Stem, and place it on an Agar plate. After a week to ten days, Mycelium grows from the tissue and colonizes the Agar. Great care should be taken to select a Fruiting body of the highest quality, size, color, shape or any highly desired characteristic.
TiT "Tub in Tub", refers to an incubator consisting of 2 plastic tubs and an aquarium heater.
Trichoderma Green mold
Trip What happens when you eat the finished product. Can last from three to six hours. May range from mild visual effects and lightly enhanced perceptions, to a totally altered state of consciousness. Generally, this can be controlled to some degree by set, setting and dosage. Read some of the trip reports to get an idea of what other people have experienced. Please always remember, although many of the effects seem to be experienced by many different people, you're going to have *your* trip, not someone else's.
Tyndallization = Fractional sterilization
U 
Umbonate Used to describe a Cap with a raised central area above the point where the Stipe meets the Pileus
V 
Veil When a mushroom is growing, the edges of the Cap are joined to the Stem. As the mushroom grows larger, the Cap spreads and the edges tear away, often leaving a very thin veil of material hanging from the Stem.
Vermiculite A highly absorbent material made from puffed mica. Used in rice cakes to hold water, and to stop the cake being too sticky. The Mycelium likes room to breathe and grow.
W 
WBS Wild Bird Seed. Millet based birdseed; used as Spawn and Substrate in mushroom cultivation.
Z 
Zonate Marked with concentric bands of colour. Refers to the appearance of Mycelium of some mushroom Species on Agar, for instance P. mexicana.



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