Diagram (top): © David Largent
(bottom): © Bryce Kendrick


acrid: peppery tasting
acute: sharply edged
amyloid: chemical reaction in which the colour of spores, spore walls, or tissue turns grey blue to violet black upon the application of Melzer’s solution
annulus: a membranous ring on the stipe which is the remnant of the partial veil
apical beak: the build-up of a callus in the apical end of the spore. This callus is referred to an “apical beak” or an “apical snout”.
appressed: flattened down, not erect
areolate: cracking or breaking pileus or stipe surface leaving patches of areas resembling drying ‘mud flats’
arbuscular: mycorrhizae characterized by fungi penetrating the fine root’s cortical cells where arbuscules are formed and nutrient exchange occurs; fungi may develop vesicles inside the root
arched: pileus shape in which the margins are pointed upwards
ascending: where the gill attachement is facing downwards
ascus (pl. asci): sac like structure in which spores develop for the group of fungi known as the Ascomycetes
basidium (pl. basidia): spore-bearing structure in the group of fungi known as the Basidiomycetes
campanulate: the shape of the pileus in which the disc is somewhat round and the margin flares upwards
capitate: with a rounded head on the apex
cheilocystidium (pl. cheilocystidia):
cystidia located on the lamella edge
clamp connections: in the Basidiomycetes, as defined by (Hawksworth et al. 1995) ‘a hyphal outgrowth which, at cell division, makes a connection between the resulting 2 cells by fusion with the lower'
clavate: club shaped, where the top end is wider than the bottom end
conic (al): shape of the pileus which is cone shaped
concolorous: said of the context or lamellae, meaning the same colour as the surface of the pileus or stipe
convex: shape of the pileus which is regularly rounded, like a half circle
continentality: is calculated by:
IC = 1.7 [mean T (July) - mean T (Jan.)]/[sine (degrees latitude)] - 20.4
where IC = index of continentality
wherre T = temperature (0C)
cortina: cob webby type of inner or partial veil, hanging from the pileus margin or as remnants on the stipe
cracking: surface of the pileus or stipe which is breaking
crenate: the edges of the pileus margin or gill that are round-toothed, or scalloped gill or pileus edge
crenulate: diminutive form of crenate: minutely scalloped
crisped: lamellae or pileus edge that is finely wrinkled or curled
cuticle: the outer skin of the pileus
cylindric: spore or stipe which is the same diameter from end to end without tapering
cystidium (pl. cystidia): sterile cells dispersed among basidia usually differentiated by shape and chemical reactions from basidia
decurrent: type of gill attachment where the gill runs down the stipe
decurved: pileus margins that are bent down
disc: the middle of the surface of the cap
eccentric: off centre attachment of stipe to pileus
ectomycorrhizal: describing mycorrhizae characterized by the development of an external fungal mantle around the roots and Hartig net surrounding root cortical cells where nutrient exchange occurs
ellipsoid: spores which have tapering ends
eroded: breaking up, with broken and irregular edges
farinaceous: taste or odour of cucumbers or flour
fibrils (fibrillose): minute hairs, (with minute hairs)
fibrous: texture of the pileus, stipe or context which is composed of tough, string-like mycelia
filiform: spores, cystidia or stipes which are slender and thread like
fimbriate: having a minute fringe
flexuous: crooked or bent
fusoid: spindle shaped and tapering to a point at the ends
glabrous: smooth, bald, without hairs, scales, or pits
glandular dots: surface with coloured spots
globose: round or spherical spores
glutinous: covered with slime or glue-like substance
gregarious: many fruiting bodies of one species located close to each other but not touching
hygrophanous: changing colour when drying
horizontal: gill attachment in which the entire gill is broadly attached to the stipe
hymenium (hymenial): the layer in which the spore producing structures are produced; (on the hymenium)
hypha (pl. hyphae): filaments or threads of fungal cells
inamyloid: no reaction when Melzer’s solution is applied
incurved: pileus margin which is bent inward
inrolled: pileus margin which is curled inwards
intervenous: blunt, ridged-like gills that extend to various distances and directions from the margin, can become attached to adjacent gills
lacerate: torn pileus margin or gill edge
lamella (pl. lamellae): blade-like lower surface of the pileus on which the hymenium is located; gills
lamellulae: short gills that do not extend to the stipe
lanuginose: woolly
latex: variously coloured liquid produced by some fungi when cut, broken or injured
macrocystidia: in the genus Lactarius, prominent cystidia scattered in the hymenium
Melzer's solution: chemical reagent used on spores to determine if tissue or spores turn blue (amyloid), red/brown (dextrinoid), or no reaction (inamyloid). Formulation is: to Chloral Hydrate solution [dissolve 100 gm (ml) Chloral Hydrate in 100 ml water H2O] add 1.5 gm Iodine, 5.0 gm Potassium Iodide, dissolve.
mycelium (pl. mycelia): group of hyphae
mycorrhiza (pl. mycorrhizae): mutually beneficial association between plant roots and fungus; fungus provides essential soil water and nutrients to plant, in turn receives simple sugars from plant
notched: gill attached to the stipe with an indentation
obtusely: rounded or blunt
ovoid: egg shaped spores
parabolic: said of the pileus shape where its length is greater than its width and the disc is rounded
partial veil: in some mushrooms, a layer of tissue develops during gill development that is attached from the stipe to the pileus edge and eventually becomes an annulus or cortina
PDAB: chemical reagent which is a solution of p-diaminobenzaldehyde in 70% ethanol
peels: in the genus Russula, the cuticle is pulled back from the margin towards the disc
pileus: cap of a mushroom and allies
planar: shape of a pileus in which the width exceeds the height; appearing flat
pruinose: with small powdery to grainy particles
radicating: stipe with a long tap root-like extention into the soil
recurved: scales or pileus margin that are curved upwards
reticulations: with net-like lines
reticulum: net-like
rind: the outer layer of the stipe
prominently wrinkled
s.I. (sensu lato): latin, meaning in the loose sense
saccate: volva type in which it is attached to the base of the stipe like a sac
scabers, scabrous: short projections (scales) on the stipe
scrobiculate: roughened with shallow pits
scattered: fruiting body habit in which a species has more than 1 fruiting bodies, but not very many, present; each fruiting body is about 30 – 60 cm apart
septate: having septa
septum (pl. septa): cell wall separating cells
serrate: pileus margin or gill edge which is roughened or toothed
solitary: fruiting body habit in which the species has only 1 fruiting body present
squamules: small scales
squamulose: covered with small scales
squarrose: covered with recurved scales
stipe: the stem or stalk of a fruiting body
striate: with lines or grooves
sulcate: ribbed; deeper than striate
tomentose: of the stipe or pileus which is covered with a dense mat of minutes fibrils; pubescent
umbilicate: with an acute depression; navel-like
umbo, umbonate: with a broad and rounded, centrally located bump on the pileus
uncinate: gill attachment in which they are attached with a short hook
universal veil: layer of tissue surrounding developing fruiting body , in some mushrooms cup-like volva remains at the base of the stipe, and at times remnant tissue on the pileus surface remains
ventricose: cystidia, lamellae or stipe, which are swollen in the middle
viscid: sticky or slimy
volva: the remnants of the universal veil left behind at the base of the stipe as the fruiting body expands with maturity
warty: spores with spines or projections; or pileus or stipe with remnants of the universal veil
zonate: with concentric rings

Further Readings:

Hawksworth, D.L., P.M. Kirk, B.C. Sutton and D.N. Pegler. 1995. Ainsworth & Bisby's Dictionary of the Fungi, 8th Edition. CMI. Kew, Surrey. pp 650.

Largent, D.L. 1977. How to identify mushrooms to genus. I. Macroscopic features. Mad River Press, Inc. Eureka, Ca. pp 86.

Largent, D.L., D. Johnson and R. Watling 1977. How to identify mushrooms to genus. III. Microscopic features. Mad River Press, Inc. Eureka. pp 148.

Snell, W.H. and E.A. Dick. 1957. A glossary of mycology. Harvard Univ. Press. Cambridge, Mass. pp 171.