How mushrooms reproduce
This will come as a surprise to many, but what we used to call a mushroom is actually just a part of a huge organism. And this part has its own function - production of disputes. The main part of this organism is located underground, and is intertwined with thin threads, called hyphae, which make up the fungal mycelium. In some cases, the hyphae can hang down in dense cords or fibrous formations that can be seen in detail even with the naked eye. However, there are times when they can only be viewed through a microscope.
The fruiting body is born only when two primary mycelium, belonging to the same species, come into contact. A combination of the male and female mycelium occurs, as a result of which a secondary mycelium is formed, which, under favorable conditions, is able to reproduce the fruiting body, which, in turn, will become the place where a huge number of spores appear.
However, mushrooms have more than just the reproductive mechanism. They are distinguished by the presence of "asexual" reproduction, which is based on the formation of special cells along the hyphae, which are called conidia. On such cells, a secondary mycelium develops, which also has the ability to bear fruit. There are also situations where the fungus grows as a result of the simple division of the original mycelium into a huge number of parts. Spore dispersion occurs primarily due to the wind. Their low weight allows them to move with the help of the wind hundreds of kilometers in a relatively short period of time.
In addition, various fungi can spread as a result of "passive" transfer of spores, which is carried out by various insects, which can both parasitize on fungi and appear on them for a short period of time. Spores can also be spread by various mammals, such as wild boars, which may accidentally eat the mushroom. The spores are then excreted along with the animal's feces. Each fungus has a life cycle of a huge number of spores, but only a tiny amount of them get into an environment that would have a beneficial effect on their further germination.
Mushrooms are a huge group of organisms, numbering more than 100 thousand species, which are traditionally considered plants. To date, scientists have come to the conclusion that mushrooms are a special group that takes its place between plants and animals, since in the process of their life, features inherent in both animals and plants are visible. The main difference between fungi and plants is the complete absence of chlorophyll, the pigment that underlies photosynthesis. As a result, mushrooms are unable to produce sugars and carbohydrates found in the atmosphere. Mushrooms, like animals, consume ready-made organic matter, which, for example, is released in decaying plants. Also, the membrane of fungal cells includes not only mycocellulose, but also chitin, which is characteristic of the outer skeletons of insects.
There are two classes of higher fungi - macromycetes: basidiomycetes and ascomycetes.
This division is based on various anatomical features characteristic of the formation of spores. In basidiomycetes, the spore-bearing hymenophore is based on plates and tubules, the connection between which is carried out using tiny pores. As a result of their activity, basidia are produced - characteristic formations that have a cylindrical or clavate shape. At the upper ends of the basidia, spores are formed, which are connected with hymenium using the finest threads.
For the growth of spores of ascomycetes, cylindrical or saccular formations are used, which are called bags. When such bags mature, they burst and the spores are pushed out.