Mushroom spores are what fungi use for their reproduction. The number of spores produced by one mushroom can reach millions and sometimes even billions. The spores appear on the inner side of the cap, where they are protected from rain during their ripening period; once they mature, they fall off.
The spores are very small and light, so the slightest puff of wind is enough to scatter them everywhere. In order for them to make a new mushroom, there are several necessary conditions that need to be met. First of all, the spore must get to a place where it can develop. For example, if it needs soil, then it will remain sterile on a leaf or tree trunk. The soil also must meet certain criteria for successful germination. In addition, they need a certain temperature and humidity.
There is another significant factor. The spores are of two sexes, although they can not be distinguished from each other visually. Having favorable conditions, the spores will germinate into hyphae. If there is hyphae of the same species but opposite sex present in the same location, their cells will merge.
Next, hyphae will grow, branch, and gradually form the mycelium, and then the fruiting body. Reproduction of fungi is differs from animals – animals are luckier as nature gave them more chances to bring different sexes together. Fungi simply produce spores of both sexes that are carried by the wind over long distances. This is an unreliable method, where randomness plays a big role. Therefore, mushroom spores are produced in large quantities, to guarantee the preservation of species.
If you want to learn how to grow fungi at home, you can use special guides and software that will teach you this fascinating skill. Once you learn, you will be able to enjoy fresh mushrooms at home.