A fun, easy, and educational activity

Autumn is a great time to go mushroom hunting with the arrival of the season’s rain showers. If you’re keen to identify those species you find, it’s helpful to know the color of their spores.

If you would love to learn to identify and even possibly consume wild mushrooms, then making a print in order to determine their spore color is an essential activity to complete.  Making spore prints is rewarding to do with kids and some prints are even pretty enough to frame!

White spores on black paper

Spores are the reproductive structures of all mushrooms and can be any color, including white, cream, yellow, green, purple, brown, rust or black. They are produced by the gills and released from them by the millions when the mushroom is mature. They are then blown away by the wind and settle in a new location to begin a new generation in the life cycle of the mushroom.

Mushroom life cycle

 

Steps in making a spore print

  1. Cut off the stem from a fresh specimen that has been open for less than two days.
  2. Set cap over adjacent black and white papers (this is because the spores may be black or white, thus wouldn’t show up if you chose just one of these paper colors.
  3. Cover mushroom cap with a sturdy box in order to increase humidity and prevent air currents from displacing the spores.
  4. After 24 hours, remove the box and the mushroom cap. Your spore print will be visible on one of the two pieces of paper.
  5. Once you have determined the spore color and which color of paper shows them off the best, you may want to repeat this process with that color of paper and a fresh mushroom cap in order to make a beautiful spore print suitable for framing!

Download my one-page cheat sheet (as seen below) on how to make a mushroom spore print.

 

How to make a mushroom spore print

 

Learn More About Fabulous Fungi

Christine with Lion’s Mane and Lobster mushrooms

Did You Enjoy This Story?

If you’ve found value in this story and believe in my mission to educate youth and adults alike on the value of nature, I invite you to make a donation to help broaden and deepen the work I can accomplish.
Click the Paypal ‘Donate’ button below to donate any amount you wish to support the conservation and education work I do. You don’t need to have a Paypal account to donate, you may also choose to use a credit card, or simply send put a check in the mailbox if you wish. Thank you!




A mushroom spore print