Mushrooms and Edible Fungi

Are all large fungi shaped like common, store-bought mushrooms?

No, not all large fungi are shaped like the type of mushrooms we usually buy in the grocery store. In fact, the fruiting bodies of fungi come in a seemingly endless array of forms and colors. Many are variations on the familiar stalk-and-cap pattern of the common mushrooms sold in stores, although some have minute spore-bearing pores instead of gills on the undersides of their caps. And many fungi do not resemble mushrooms at all; for example, puffballs are solid, fleshy spheres, and bird’s nest fungi form little cups containing “eggs” packed with spores. One kind of fungus looks like a head of cauliflower, and others resemble upright, branching clumps of coral. Some protrude from tree trunks like shelves, while others look like glistening blobs of jelly.


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