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Mushroom Spore Prints - How to make and use them!

Updated: Jan 28

How to Mushroom Spore Print

Ever thought of playing detective with mushrooms? Here's a pro tip: spore prints. These aren't just funky patterns but your secret weapon in mushroom ID. Picture this: spores are like invisible tiny dots, but when they party together in a big group, their color spills the beans on what mushroom they're from.

Think of spores as the mushroom's way of saying, 'Let's make more mushrooms!' They're tiny, but they've got big dreams of mushroom multiplication!


an image of a mushroom spore print on two different color pappers
Spores are Different colors, use the right color papper

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How to Make Spore Prints

Ready for some mushroom magic? First up, grab your chosen wild mushroom. Timing is key – you want one that's ready to party with its spores. Too young, like those button types or ones still rocking a partial veil, and you'll get a no-show on the spore front.

  • Scout for that perfect wild shroom. Timing's a big deal – you're looking for a mature one, ready to shower spores. If it's still a button mushroom or wearing its partial veil, it's not spore-ready.

  • Prep Time: Chop off the stem and let the cap meet its new friend – a piece of paper or a glass slide.

  • Positioning is Key: Ensure the part of the cap loaded with spores (yup, those gills or pores) is facing downward.

  • The Cool Part: Peek at the picture on the right. It's like a spore fashion show on paper – same mushroom, different colored runways!"

Experiment with spore prints on two different paper colors for mushroom identification, providing flexibility for varying spore shades.
Why limit yourself to just one color when you can double the fun? Feel free to experiment by placing one spore print on two different paper hues, especially if you're unsure whether those spores will go dark or light.

  • Match Up: Light spores? Dark paper is your best friend. Dark spores? Say hello to light paper. Pro move? Try both to really nail that color.

  • Glass Trick: Use a glass piece or a microscope slide. Why? You get to play background switcheroo later with black or white.

  • No Breezy Business: Cover the mushroom with a cup or bowl upside down. This keeps those sneaky air currents from messing up your spore masterpiece.

  • Patience Pays: Let it chill for a few hours, or better yet, tuck it in for an overnight stay.

  • The Big Reveal: Lift the cover, and boom! There's your spore print, flaunting its colors like it's on a runway.


Identifying Wild Mushrooms

Spore prints on their own might not be the Sherlock Holmes of mushroom identification, but pay attention to their color – it could be your trusty sidekick in the wild mushroom guessing game!

Image of a classic mushroom spore print.
Behold, the classic spore print!

So, once you've got that spore print in the bag, it's time to play detective and check it against your trusty guidebooks. Some color variations might make you question the meaning of life itself (seriously, how many shades of white can there be, right?). But hey, if you're trying to tell brown from pink, we've got your back on that one.

Now, let's get down to business with a quick cheat sheet for some mushrooms and their spore colors:

  • Shaggy Mane (Coprinus comatus) – goes all-in with black.

  • Enokitake (Flammulina velutipes) – rocks the pure white look.

  • Reishi (Ganoderma lucidum) – keeps it classy with brown.

  • Maitake (Grifola frondosa) – another one for team white.

  • Oyster Mushroom (Pleurotus ostreatus) – switches between white and a hint of light purple.

  • Turkey Tail (Trametes versicolor) – stays loyal to white.

  • Amanita species – proudly goes with white.

  • Black Trumpet (Craterellus cornucopiodes) – adds a dash of yellowish charm.

  • King Bolete (Boletus edulis) – leans towards dark greenish brown.

  • Chanterelle (Cantharellus cibarius) – swings between white and yellow, just to keep you guessing.

But here's the twist: some wild mushrooms, like morels, don't follow the spore-producing rulebook. They're the rebels of the mushroom world, with no obvious spore-making tissue like gills or pores. So, when you're dealing with these guys, grab the whole mushroom and expect those spores to party all over the place, no pattern required!

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