Parts of a Mushroom

Just like any other organism, mushrooms have their own anatomy. Knowing the anatomy of a mushroom will be super helpful as you start to see your grow blocks fruit! It’ll be a great set of vocabulary to know as you become more of a mycological expert!

Starting at the top of the mushroom, you have the cap or head of the mushroom. This is the most noticeable part of the mushroom, and is usually unique to the strain of mushroom. Some oyster mushrooms have yellow, greyish blue, or pink caps, while shiitake mushrooms have a brown speckled, more rustic looking cap. Connected to the bottom of the cap is the veil, which usually either peels away from the edges of the cap or falls down the stem. The veil reveals the gills in the cap, allowing the spores of the mushroom to disperse! For shiitakes, once the veil has fallen, and gills are visible, this is an indicator that your mushroom is ready to harvest. The stem is what connects the mushroom to the grow block, and filters nutrients in. Some mushrooms have tiny pores on their stem and under the cap, instead of gills. The flesh, or tissue, of a mushroom is the inside of the stem and cap. If you were to cut a mushroom in half starting at the cap and cutting down the center of the stem, you would reveal the flesh.

Dissecting a mushroom could be a great way to better understand how mushrooms grow, and could even be a fun science experiment for the young ones!


© Photo by Derek SooHoo