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Glossary and Lexicon of The Online Mushroom Community's (OMC) terms

A to Z of commonly used abbreviations and words


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 inmushrooms 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 toadstoolwhen the veil connecting the cap and stem ruptures as the youngfruitbody 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 sexualspores inside specialized cells (asci), which usually contain eightspores.

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 higherpressure than 15 PSI, thus achieving sterilization temperatures above250?F.

Axenic - Not contaminated; gnotobiotic: Said esp. of a medium devoid of all living organisms except those of a single Species       


Bacteria- Unicellular microorganisms that may cause contamination in culturework. Grain spawn is very easily contaminated with bacteria. On theother hand there are some bacteria that are needed for the fruiting ofagaricus. These are present in the casing soil. 
Basidiomycetes]- A group of fungi which produce their spores externally on so calledbasidia. Often four spores are produced per basidium. Manybasidiomycetes show clamp connections on their hyphae, ascomycetes neverdo. Most mushrooms are classified as basidiomycetes, whereas most moldsare ascymycetic. 
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 cultivationis: 1 pound fresh mushrooms from 1 pound dry Substrate indicates 100 %biological efficiency. This definition was first used by the agaricusindustry to be able to compare different grow setups and Substratecompositions. Note that this is not the same as true thermodynamicefficiency. The BE of Psilocybe cubensis is easily somewhere in therange of 200%uFFFDbr>

Birthing - Removing thefully colonized growth medium (like a cake from its jar) from whatevercontainer it was kept in for colonization purposes and placing in anenvironment conducive to fruiting.   
Bolete - A group of fungi having tubes rather than gills beneath the cap 
Brown Rice Flour (BRF)- Ground brown rice. Many cultivators grind their own brown rice in a coffee grinder. 
Buffer- A system capable of resisting changes in pH even when acid or base isadded, consisting of a conjugate acid-base pair in which the ratio ofproton acceptor to proton donor is near unity. An example is gypsum,which is an additive that increases a material's pH while helping tobuffer it, or keep it within a desriable (and higher) pH range.     


CaCl2 - Calcium chloride (Brand names: Damp-Rid, Damp-Gone, Damp B Gone, Damp Away). See desiccant. 
CaCO3 - See calcium carbonate. 
Calcium sulfate - CaSO4. See gypsum.

Canopy - An overhanging protection or covering.  Also, the cover formed by the leafy upper branches of plants or the caps of mushroom fruits.  
Carbon dioxide - CO2. A colorless, odorless, incombustible gas. Formed during respiration, combustion, and organic decomposition.     

Carpophore(s)- Commonly known as "mushrooms", the reproductive organs of the truebody 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  and vermiculite; additives include calcium carbonate,calcium hydroxide (hydrated lime) and crushed oyster shells.
CaSO4 - Calcium sulfate. See gypsum.   
Cellulose- Glucose polysaccharide that is the main component of plant cell walls. Most abundant polysaccharide on earth, and common source of nourishment for cultivated fungi.   
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. This is not strictly related to the colloquial notion of cloning, and is simply a manipulation of the natural asexual reproduction system of fungi. 
CO2 - See 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 its substrate. 
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 .   

CVG aka Coir Verm Gypsum- This commonly used acronym is one of the most commonly used substrates for growing Psilocybe Cubensis. CVG can be sterilized or pasteurized unlike other substrates that would otherwise require pasteurization and can't be sterilized with the intention of spawning to bulk in open air. Coir, Coir Verm, Coir Gypsum, and Coir verm gypsum are all usable combinations.

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 - Selectively-fermented organic material. Compost is one desirable substrate for mushrooms, but may vary in its components.   
Coniferous - Pertaining to conifers, which bear woody cones containing naked seeds. Relevant in mushroom hunting.   
Contamination- Undesired foreign material (contaminants), frequently organisms, in a growing medium. Often the result of 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 - A sample of a given (generally desired) organism. In mycology, mushroom mycelium growing on a culture medium. 
Culture medium- The material upon which a culture is developed. Micro-organisms differ in their nutritional needs, and so 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.     


Deciduous - Trees and plants that shed their leaves at the end of the growing season. Relevant in mushroom hunting. 
Desiccant- An anhydrous (moistureless) substance, usually a powder or gel, usedto absorb water from other substances. Two commonly used dessicants arecalcium hydroxide and silica gel. Dessication permits mushrooms to bepreserved for extended periods.   
Dextrose - A simple sugar used in agar formulations. Synonymous with glucose. 
Dikaryotic mycelium - Contains two nuclei and can therefore produce fruiting bodies.
Diffusion- The movement of suspended or dissolved particles from a moreconcentrated region to a less concentrated region as a result of randommovement on the microscopic scale. Diffusion tends to distributeparticles uniformly throughout the available volume, given enough time,and occurs more rapidly at higher temperatures. 
Disinfection- To cleanse so as to destroy or prevent the growth of microorganisms,usually referring to rubbing or spraying the surfaces one wants todisinfect with lysol, diluted bleach solutions or alcohol.     


Endospore- A metabolically dormant state by which some bacteria become moreresistant to heat, chemicals, and other adverse conditions. Given theproper conditions, they will reactivate (germinate) and begin tomultiply. Many bacterial endospores cannot be destroyed at boilingtemperatures. This is important to mycologists because grains contain ahigh number of dormant endospores, though rice often contains few tonone; thus, many grains must be pressure cooked to achievesterilization, whereas brown rice flour may simply be boiled.
Enzyme - A protein, synthesized by a cell, that acts as a catalyst for a specific chemical reaction.     


(FAE) Fresh Air Exchange- This is the amount of air it takes to successfully fruit a given species. Generally enough air exchange to keep the PPM(parts per million) of CO2 below 600-1000. Fresh air exchange is what is accomplished by fanning once an hour. Both the SGFC and monotub get 24/7 automatic FAE and do not require fanning.  FAE is a key to indoor success in fruiting many species. Passive FAE is easily accomplished by modern automatic fruting chambers like the monotub.

Fermentation- Anaerobic (oxygen-less) decomposition. In mushroom cultivation, thisoften relates to composting. Easily-accessible nutrients may be degradedby micro-organism, making a substrate more selectively beneficial tothe desired fungus. Unwanted fermentation may occur if the compostedsubstrate is still very 'active' after inoculation or if thick layers orlarge bags are used. The latter may lead to low-oxygen conditions inparts of the substrate. Mushrooms are aerobic, meaning they need oxygen,while some undesirable bacteria thrive in anaerobic conditions. 
Field capacity- Content of water, on a mass or volume basis, remaining in a soilafter being saturated with water and after free drainage is negligible.Described as the state achieved when one can squeeze a handful ofsubstrate or casing material hard, only to have one or two drops emerge.
Flow hood- A fan-powered and HEPA-filtered device that produces a laminar flowof contam free air. The air moves across the workspace allowing for opensterile work without the hassle and inconvience of a glove box. 
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 inpreparation of grain spawn (rye, wheat, birdseed) requiring no pressurecooker. In this case, the jars fitted with a filter are boiled orsteamed at 212?F (100?C) for 30 min in a covered pot, three days in arow. Between the boiling steps the jars are best kept warm, around 30?C,to allow the remaining endospores to germinate. The basic principlebehind this method is that any resistant bacterial spores shouldgerminate after the first heating and therefore be susceptible tokilling during the subsequent boilings.
Fruiting- The process by which the mycelium produces fruiting bodies, ormushrooms, for the purpose of spore propagation (sexual reproduction). 
Fruiting body - A mushroom. The part of the mushroom that grows above ground.
Fruiting chamber (FC) - A enclosed space with high humidity and fresh air exchange where mushrooms may fruit under proper conditions.
Fungicide - A class of pesticides used to kill fungi.
Fungus- A group of organisms that includes mushrooms and molds. Theseorganisms decompose organic material, returning nutrients to the soil.      


G2G - See 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 (alsoknown 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 withpotentially hazardous substances or materials which need to be free fromdirect contact with the outside environment for any reason. Mostgloveboxes are small, tightly enclosed boxes having a glass panel forviewing inside and special airtight gloves which a person on the outsidecan use to manipulate objects inside. 
Glucose - See dextrose.
Grain-to-grain transfer- The inoculation of grain with already-colonized grain. This procedureinvolves exposing uncolonized, sterilized grain, and so is prone tocontamination. As such it should only be performed with a glove box,laminar flow hood, or similar device.
Gypsum- Calcium sulfate, CaSO4. A greyish powder often used in spawnpreparation. It prevents the clumping of the grain kernels and acts as abasic pH buffer.     


H2O2 - See hydrogen peroxide. 
Hay- Grass that has been cut, left to dry in the field and then baled. Itis fed to livestock through the winter when fresh grass is notavailable. The color of hay is greenish-grey. Not synonymous with straw.
HEPA - High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. A high-efficiency filter used in flow hoods.
Hydrogen peroxide - A clear aqueous solution usualy available in concentrations from 3%uFFFDo 30%uFFFDEasily decomposed into water and
oxygenby enzymes like catalase, which is found in desirable mushrooms but notin many bacteria. This makes it capable of selectively destroying somecompetitors, and a tool sometimes used in cultivation. The mycologicaluse of peroxide was the focus of a popular cultivation guide by RushWayne.     

Hypha(e) - Filamentous structure which exhibits apical growth and which is the developmental unit of a Mycelium.       


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
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       



Lamellae - The gills of a mushroom
LC - See liquid culture

Liquid Inoculant - Abbreviated LI, Liquid Inoculant is a suspension of mycelium in water. This is different from a LC in that the mycelium did not grow in the medium. The most common way to make a LI is to blend up a wedge/dish of clean mycelium on agar with sterilized water. 
Lignin- A complex polymer that occurs in woody material of higher plants. Itis highly resistant to chemical and enzymatic degradation. The white rotfungi are known for their lignin degrading capability. 
Limestone - See calcium carbonate. 
Liquid culture - A culture of mycelium suspended in a nutritious liquid, for use as an inoculant.       


Magic mushroom- Any of a number of species of fungi containing the alkaloidspsilocybin and/or psilocin. Common species are the 'liberty cap'(Psilocybe semilanceata) and Psilocybe cubensis, though there are dozensof others.
Maltose - Malt sugar, used in agar formulations.
Martha - Refers to a fruiting chamber based on a Martha Stewart-brand translucent vinyl closet.
MEA - Malt extract agar. 
Metabolism - The biochemical processes that sustain a living cell or organism.
Multispore- Refers to an inoculation where multiple germinations and matingsoccur due to the use of various spores, as in a spore solution (e.g.spore syringe) and as opposed to an isolate. Liquid cultures maysometimes be called multispore (though they contain no spores) if theywere produced from a spore solution, rather than an isolate. 
Mycelium- The portion of the mushroom that grows underground. Plants haveroots; mushrooms have mycelium. Mycelium networks can be huge. Thelargest living thing in the world is a single underground myceliumcomplex.
Mycorrhiza - A symbiotic association between a plant root and fungal hyphae.       



Overlay- A dense mycelial growth that covers the casing surface and showslittle or no inclination to form pinheads. Overlay directly results froma dry casing, high levels of carbon Dioxide and/or low humidity.
Oyster shells - See calcium sulfate.     


Parasitic - Fungi that grow by taking nourishment from other living organisms.
Pasteurization- Heat treatment applied to a Substrate to destroy unwanted organismsbut keeping a reduced concentration of favorable ones alive. Thetemperature range is 60?C to 80?C(140?F-175?F). The treatment is verydifferent from sterilization, which aims at destroying all organisms inthe substrate .

PDA - Potato dextrose agar.
PDYA - Potato dextrose yeast agar.
Peat- Unconsolidated soil material consisting largely of undecomposed, oronly slightly decomposed, organic matter accumulated under conditions ofexcessive moisture. Used as casing ingredient in mushroom culture.
Perlite- Perlite is a very light mineral, often found next to the vermiculitein gardening stores. It has millions of microscopic pores, which when itgets damp, allow it to 'breathe' lots of water into the air, aiding inhumidification, which is beneficial to fruiting.     
Peroxidatedagar - Agar made with H2O2 for the purpose of retarding contamination bybacteria and new mold spores. Not suitable for use with ungerminatedmushroom spores, only live mycelium. See also: hydrogen peroxide.
Petri dish- A round glass or plastic dish with a cover to observe the growth ofmicroscopic organisms. The dishes are partly filled with sterile growthmedium such as agar (or sterilized after they have been filled). Petridishes are used to produce isolates.
PF -Psylocybe Fanaticus. The original spore provider and originator of thePF-Tek, one of the original home growing techniques on which many othersare 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.
Pinhead - A term to describe a very young mushroom, so-named for the pin-sized developing cap.
Polyfill- A polyester fiber that resembles synthetic cotton. Found at fabricstores, Wal-Mart, arts & craft stores. Also used as a filter mediumfor aquariums (filter floss). Used as a jar lid filter in preparation ofgrain spawn and for other filtration purposes.
Pressure cooker- A pot with a tight lid in which things can be cooked quickly withsteam under higher pressure. The reason for it is that at 15 PSI (poundper square inch) pressure the water boils at a higher temperature(250?F, 121?C) than at ambient pressure.(212?F, 100?C). In mushroomcultivation used to thoroughly 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, uncontaminated with others.Pure cultures are essential to the production of spawn because it issensitive to contamination.     


Rhizomorph- "Root-like". An adjective used to describe the appearance of themycelium of some mushroom strains. Rhizomorphic mycelium is taken as asign of fast colonization and qualities desirable for fruiting.
Rice cake- Many of the growing methods involve making a 'cake' of brown riceflour( BRF ), vermiculite and water, and injecting it with mushroomspores. 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 lawngrass. Lat.:Lolium perenne. Seeds used as Substrate for P. mexicana andP. tampanensis.       


Saprophyte - A fungus that grows by taking nourishment from dead organisms
Sclerotium- A hard surfaced resting body of fungal cells resistant to unfavorableconditions,which may remain dormant for long periods of time and resumegrowth 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 inpreference to others. For example, an antibiotic-containing mediumallows the growth of only those microorganisms resistant to theantibiotic.
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 - Culture of mycelium on grain, sawdust, etc., used to inoculate the final substrate, or bulk.
Spawn run - The vegetative growth period of the mycelium after spawning the substrate to bulk.
Species- Fundamental unit of biological taxonomy. Generally spoken, twoindividuals belong to the same species if they can produce fertileoffspring
Spore print - A collection ofspores taken from a mushroom cap, often collected on sterile card stock,aluminum foil, or some other flat surface.
Spore syringe- A solution of spores collected in a syringe, usually scraped from aspore print under sterile conditions. Several companies will sell youready-to-use spore syringes for a few pounds/dollars. This site haslinks to, or address for, many of the most reputable of these companies.
Spores - Means of sexual reproduction formushrooms and many other fungi. Comparable to a plant seed, save thatspores combined sexually with one another after germination; there areno "male" and "female" spores as with seeds and pollen or sperm andeggs, but compatability is complicated. Spores are microscopic, and anyvisible clump of spores is in fact a collection of many thousands ormillions of spores. 
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 tobe sterilized prior to inoculation.
Stipe - The stem of a mushroom at the top of which the cap or Pileus is attached
Strain- A genetic line considered to have common traits, usually identifiedfor artificial selection by humans. Many strains have geographical names(e.g. Ecuador, Texan, Aussie), but point of natural origin is notnecessarily the source of the name. Remember that strains are a humannotion; vendors often differentiate between stocks that are not visiblydifferent to everyone, but which have been perceived to have differentcharacteristics, whether visual (e.g. the Penis Envy strain), chemical(as in strains perceived to have high potency), or behavioral (relatingto the mushroom's response to environment, colonization speed, etcetera). 
Straw - The dried remains offine-stemmed cereals (wheat, Rye, barley...) from which the seed hasbeen removed in threshing. Straw has a golden color. 
Stroma- Dense mycelial growth without fruiting. Stroma occurs if spawn ismishandled or exposed to harmful petroleum-based fumes or chemicals. Italso occurs in dry environments.
Substrate -Whatever you're using to grow the mushrooms on. Different varieties ofmushroom like to eat different things (rice, rye grain, straw, compost,woodchips, birdseed). Different techniques involve infecting substrateswith anything from spores, to chopped-up Mycelium, to blended mushroom.      


Tek -Short for technique. Often prefaced with something to tell you what typeof tek; e.g. PF-Tek, for Psylocybe Fanaticus Technique, one of theoriginal home growing techniques on which many others are based.
Terrarium- A small enclosure or closed container in which selected livingplants, fungi and sometimes small land animals, such as turtles andlizards, are kept and observed.
Tissue culture- Tissue cultures are the simplest way to obtain a mycelial culture. Atissue culture is essentially a clone of a mushroom, defined as agenetic duplicate of an organism. The basic procedure is to sterilelyremove a piece of the mushroom cap or stem, and place it on an agarplate. After a week to ten days, Mycelium grows from the tissue andcolonizes the agar. Great care should be taken to select a fruiting bodyof the highest quality, size, color, shape or any highly desiredcharacteristic. 
TiT - "Tub in Tub", refers to an incubator consisting of 2 plastic tubs and an aquarium heater.
Trichoderma - A common green mold.
Trip- What happens when you eat the finished product, if you arecultivating hallucinogenic varieties. With psilocybes, a trip tends tolast from three to six hours. May range from mild visual effects andlightly enhanced perceptions, to a totally altered state ofconsciousness. Generally, this can be controlled to some degree bymindset, setting and dosage. Read some of the trip reports to get anidea of what other people have experienced before experiencinghallucinogens. Please always remember, although many of the effects seemto be experienced by many different people, you're going to have *your*trip, not someone else's.
Tyndallization - See fractional sterilization       


Umbonate - Used to describe a cap with a raised central area above the point where the stipe meets the pileus       


Veil- When a mushroom is growing, the edges of the cap are joined to thestem. As the mushroom grows larger, the cap spreads and the edges tearaway, often leaving a very thin veil of material hanging from the stem. 
Vermiculite - A highly absorbent materialmade from puffed mica. Used in rice cakes to hold water, and to stop thecake being too sticky. The mycelium likes room to breathe and grow.      


WBS - Wild bird seed. Millet-based birdseed; used as spawn and Substrate in mushroom cultivation.       


Zonate- Marked with concentric bands of colour. Refers to the appearance ofmycelium of some mushroom species on agar, for instance P. mexicana.  

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