Spore Dispersal

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Gravity and Air Currents

Most fungi rely on gravity to carry their spores down and into air currents which will then carry them away to other places. Gill fungi, boletes and polypores all have their spore producing surfaces on the undersurface of the fruiting bodies, so that the spores drop out into air currents below. Many of the fruiting bodies also have a stalk. This helps to raise the spore producing surface higher up and so increase the chances of the spores dispersing far and wide.


wpe2C.jpg (17574 bytes) The fact that spores fall out under gravity can be used to good effect to produce spore prints. This is done by collecting the fruiting bodies of fungi such as gill fungi, boletes or polypores and placing the cap or spore producing surface onto a piece of paper. White paper is usually best, although some fungi may have white spores, in which case, black paper will show them up.

The print at left is from a gill fungus and clearly shows the arrangement of the gills which carried the spores. Boletes and polypores will show circular patterns which reflect the tubes which carry the spores in these fungi.