Well, where do mushrooms come from? The mushroom life cycle is truly incredible and can be broken down into 8 different phases, most of which are invisible to humans in nature. Cultivators however become very familiar with this cycle and have the pleasure of witnessing it firsthand.
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- Spore germination
- Mycelial growth
- Hyphal knot
- Primordia creation
- Fruitbody selection
- Maturing of fruitbodies
- Spore release
Mushroom hunters and observers in nature can only see the last 3 steps, and because of this we didn’t know much about mushrooms for most of human history. We ate them, used them as medicine (and poison) but we never really understood them. We saw them as mystical; fairy circles are a great example, no one could explain where exactly mushrooms were coming from. Now we know.
- Inoculation happens when spores land on a favorable medium, with the proper conditions. These mediums and conditions vary greatly from mushroom to mushroom.
- Spore Germination is what you get when the spores land on the proper medium, with the proper conditions and Hyphae will begin to grow. When two compatible hyphae meet, they create fertile mycelium.
- Mycelial Growth then spreads to the surrounding organic matter, breaks it down and takes in its nutrients. Mycelium grows exponentially, consuming as much nutrients as possible and fending off competitors (mold, yeast, bacteria, other fungus).
- Hyphal Knots are created when mycelium condenses in order to begin fruiting.
- Primordia Formation happens when the organism produces a plethora of enzymes at the hyphal knots in order to create fruit bodies. These look-like tiny mushroom caps erupting from the substrate.
- Fruitbody Selection is vital in picking which primordia should be focused on to create the strongest fruits. Ones growing in the perfect conditions.
- Maturing of Fruitbodies is when the organism puts all its resources into growing the selected fruitbodies so that they can create and drop new spores. This is vital in mushroom reproduction.
- Spore Release is the last phase, as the fruitbodies mature they begin to drop millions of spores into their environment. This brings us back to phase one and inoculation.