Proper Spore Printing for curved-like fungus

I wanted to do a spore print for a mushroom I found in the forest, but sadly I did not think to bring it back to my house at the time. I came back later and found that it was still there, so I took it home. I’m guessing the spore printing will be difficult, for the thing is curved upward like a circular pyramid or something. This is the observation I made before taking it home:

I don’t know what to do to do a spore print because it’s not flat nor does it have gills. Should I do something beforehand before making a print? What will work and not work with these types of mushroom spore prints?

1 Like

Polypores can be difficult to get spore prints off of, that said, the NAMA website has some tips here that you can try


would it be a bad idea to cut off a chunk that looks porous and use that?


Polypores are hard because they are slow growing and it can be difficult to tell when they’re ready to drop spores. They may not be mature enough or they may be long gone - if I were trying to spore print this, I’d probably just wrap it in a wet towel for a bit to make sure its hydrated, then put it pores-down as best as I can on some tinfoil and cover it to keep it from drying out.

1 Like

I refrain from collecting polypores because many of them are perennial. I do slice off a piece for study if needed. With polypores it is also helpful to note the tree species.
The recommended medium for a spore print is white paper.


Very good point on leaving polypores where they are.

1 Like

hey, thanks! I don’t know much about fungi, so knowing polypores are perennial and slow growing is actually good info as a beginner.

the Ficus trees on Dizengoff street have lots of polypores, and it’s a path I take often, so I was wondering how/if I could get useful data.

so… I guess after top/bottom photos I’ll take a little slice, try to get spores from it, and note other stuff like smell and bruising right? I’m trying to remember the advice from other “what do identifiers want/need from an obs” threads.

What is a Spore Print and in what manner is that useful ??

1 Like

A spore print makes spores on fungi appear, it is useful for identification and study. Sometimes mushrooms can look exactly identical from the outside, but after doing a spore print, they can actually be a completely different species!


This is a spore print! Spores are the way that fungi reproduce. Their fertile surface (usually the underside, though ascomycetes can get weird) will drop them once mature. There’s a few main reasons you’d want to take a spore print

  1. If the color is useful for identifying a species. What color the spores are can help differentiate between look-alike species, or tell you what family/genus a mushroom belongs to.

A good common example I recommend sport printing for is Lepista (now Collybia) nuda; they are a close look alike for some mushrooms in the Cortinarius genus, but C. nuda will have very pale pinkish-buff spores, whereas cortinarius have rusty brown spores.

  1. Microscopy! If you have the spore print and a microscope, you can look at them, take pictures, and share the pictures, and you or someone else can use those spores to help identify the mushroom further. Sometimes, the only real way to differentiate between closely related fungi is to look at the spores and other microscopic features.

Spores are produced on the fertile surface of the fungus called the hymenium. Button mushrooms from the market have brown gills under the cap. These gills are where the spores are produced. If you cut off the stem and place the cap, gill side down, on a white sheet of paper overnight released spores will fall onto the paper creating a spore print. The spore print will be chocolate brown.
In addition to gills there are other forms of hymenium, tubes, branch tips, smooth surface and others.


wait, you can spore print mushrooms from the store? they’re… fresh like that?

Oh totally. They’re basically a fruit, right? So just like a fruit off of a plant will continue to ripen once you’ve picked it, a fungus will continue to mature for a bit after you’ve picked it.

Check out what this mushroom did overnight in my tacklebox while I was at a mushroom festival - it also dropped spores all over the place in the process


Yes and you’ll want to do the print on the counter not in the refrigerator. You can cover it with a bowl to keep humidity up and contain the spores. This works with gilled mushrooms you may find in your yard or neighborhood.


now your explanation has given me a clear understanding of a Spore Print, i am glad to learn something like this as its new for me.

1 Like

thanks for helping me out on this :)

1 Like

yw. You can try this technique on other forms of fungi and see what you get. Experiment!
btw if you get a white spore print on white paper it can be difficult to see. Hold the paper and look edge on and you will see the print.

1 Like

This topic was automatically closed 60 days after the last reply. New replies are no longer allowed.