Mushroom Glossary of Terms

Familiarize yourself with some of the commonly used growing and production terminology related to indoor and outdoor mushroom cultivation.

  • Cultivation: The process of growing mushrooms, either indoors or outdoors, comprising of four main stages: Inoculation, Colonization, Fruiting, and Harvesting.
  • Colonization: The phase in mushroom growth where mycelium grows, but no fruiting bodies are visible.
  • Culture: Mycelium of a specific mushroom species or strain, typically grown on slants within petri dishes or in test tubes under controlled conditions. Mushroom cultures grown on slants are commonly used for long-term storage and preservation of fungal strains.
  • Culturing: The process of extracting and preserving the genetic makeup of mushrooms into a culture, typically in controlled lab conditions for commercial production or experimentation.
  • Flush: A collective yield of mushrooms; mycelium typically produces fruits in clusters, followed by a short period of rest.
  • Force Fruiting: A technique applied to induce mycelium to generate fruiting bodies, otherwise known as "shocking."
  • Fruiting: The growth stage indicated by the emergence of visible mushrooms on the substrate.
  • Fruiting Bodies: Reproductive structures of fungi, serving as the actual mushrooms that emerge from the substrate. They're responsible for dispersing spores, playing a crucial role in the fungi's life cycle. These structures vary in shape, size, and color.
  • Fruiting chamber: An area utilized by mushroom cultivators to create an ideal environment for optimal growth.
  • Laying yard: Where mushrooms are cultivated, involving the incubation and routine maintenance of logs to optimize growth.
  • Incubate: Allowing mushroom mycelium to colonize and grow within a substrate such as logs, sawdust, or other organic material.
  • Inoculation: The introduction of spores or spawn into a suitable substrate.
  • Mycelium: White thread-like fibers forming the vegetative structure of fungi.
  • Pins or pinning: The first phase of mushroom fruiting when baby mushrooms appear.
  • Spawn: A medium containing a distinct strain of mushroom mycelium used to seed and produce mushrooms.
  • Spawning: The initiation of colonizing mushrooms, introducing spawn into an ideal substrate.
  • Spawn run: The time post-inoculation during which mycelium completely colonizes the substrate.
  • Spores: Tiny reproductive organs produced by mushrooms, essential for their life cycle. Similar to seeds in plants, they are released from the mushroom's gills, pores, or other parts. In natural environments, they're dispersed through the air. In controlled settings like laboratories, specific mushroom genes can be isolated from spores to grow mycelium under suitable conditions.
  • Strain: A subset of a mushroom species that has been discovered or selected. May be cultivated through various inoculation methods.
  • Substrate: A medium where mushroom mycelium can establish and thrive.

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