Home > Resources > Fungal Library > Basidiospores


Spore category. Produced by mushrooms, puffballs, shelf fungi, rusts, smuts, and many other fungi.

Basidiomycetes microphoto Basidiomycetes microphoto2



Approx. 1,200 genera.

Where Found

Saprophytes and plant pathogens.
Gardens, forests, woodlands.

Mode of Dissemination

Wind; spore release (active mechanism) during periods of high humidity or rain.

Growth Indoors

Serpula lacrimans, the agent of "dry rot," and other fungi causing white and brown wood rot, grow and destroy the structural wood of buildings. Poria incrassata causes a particularly destructive dry rot in buildings.

Industrial Uses

Many mushrooms are edible, and very important in the food industries.

Other Comments

Occasionally, a benign, non-wood rotting mushroom will fruit inside a building, growing in some unique ecological niche if enough moisture is present.
If mushrooms are found growing indoors we ask clients to submit the entire mushroom for identification.

Potential Health Effects


Probably common.
Type I allergies (hay fever, asthma).
Type III hypersensitivity pneumonitis: Lycoperdonosis (puffball spores), Mushroom culture hypersensitivity.

Potential Opportunist or Pathogen

Asexual forms may cause rare opportunistic infections.
The yeast Cryptococcus neoformans is a basidiomycete.

Potential Toxin Production

Mushroom toxicosis (poisoning) is usually a result of ingestion of the following toxins: amanitins, monomethyl-hydrazine, muscarine, ibotenic acid, psilocybin.

Laboratory Notes

Growth/Culture Characterisics

Most Basidiomycetes will not fruit on laboratory media. Many will form arthrospores or sterile mycelia on laboratory media.

Spore Trap Recognition

Most basidiospores have a distinctive asymmetrical attachment point. Many basidiomycetes have recognizable spores. Serpula, the agent of dry rot, with tan-orange basidiospores, can sometimes be identified on spore trap slides.

Tape Lift Recognition

Except for the occasional finding of Serpula (above), basidiospores are rarely found on tape lifts, except as a part of normal influx of outdoor spores.