Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus, Medical, Legal, Idioms, Wikipedia.


type of basidium fungus characterized by spore-bearing gills on the underside of the umbrella- or cone-shaped cap. The name toadstool is popularly reserved for inedible or poisonous mushrooms, but this classification has no scientific basis. The only safe way of distinguishing between the edible and the poisonous species is to learn to identify them. Some poisonous mushrooms are of the genus Amanita. The genus includes the fly agaric, Amanita muscaria, and the death angel or destroying angel, A. virosa.

The use of edible mushrooms for food dates back at least to early Roman times. Originally a delicacy for the elite, mushrooms are now extensively grown on a commercial scale, especially the cultivated mushroom or champignon, Agaricus bisporus, and the shiitake mushroom, Lentinus edodes. Their culture requires careful control of temperature and humidity. The bulk of the crop in the United States is grown near Philadelphia. In Europe more than 50 species of mushrooms are marketed. Although mushrooms contain some protein and minerals, they are largely composed of water and hence are of limited nutritive value.

The truffletruffle
[Fr.], subterranean edible fungus that forms a mutually beneficial (symbiotic) relationship with the roots of certain trees and plants. The part of the fungus used as food is the ascoma, the fruiting body of the fungus.
..... Click the link for more information.
, puffballpuffball
or smokeball,
fungus in which the aboveground portion is typically a stemless brownish sac with an opening at the top through which issues the dustlike mass of ripe spores. The common puffball is Lycoperdon gemmatum. The giant puffball (L.
..... Click the link for more information.
, and other edible fungi are sometimes also called mushrooms. In all cases the term mushroom is properly restricted to the above-ground portion, which is the reproductive organ. Mushrooms are classified in the kingdom FungiFungi
, kingdom of heterotrophic single-celled, multinucleated, or multicellular organisms, including yeasts, molds, and mushrooms. The organisms live as parasites, symbionts, or saprobes (see saprophyte).
..... Click the link for more information.
, phylum (division) Basidiomycota.


See A. H. Smith and N. A. Weber, The Mushroom Hunter's Field Guide (rev. ed. 1980); O. K. Miller, Jr., Mushrooms of North America (rev. ed. 1979); G. H. Lincoff, The Audubon Society Field Guide to North American Mushrooms (1981).


A macroscopic fungus with a fruiting body (also known as a sporocarp). Approximately 14% (10,000) described species of fungi are considered mushrooms. Mushrooms grow aboveground or underground. They have a fleshy or nonfleshy texture. Many are edible, and only a small percentage are poisonous.

Mushrooms reproduce via microscopic spheres (spores) that are roughly comparable to the seeds of higher plants. Spores are produced in large numbers on specialized structures in or on the fruiting body. Spores that land on a suitable medium absorb moisture, germinate, and produce hyphae that grow and absorb nutrients from the substratum. If suitable mating types are present and the mycelium (the threadlike filaments or hyphae that become interwoven) develops sufficiently to allow fruiting, the life cycle will continue. In nature, completion of the life cycle is dependent on many factors, including temperature, moisture and nutritional status of the substratum, and gas exchange capacity of the medium.

Fewer than 20 species of edible mushrooms are cultivated commercially. The most common cultivated mushroom is Agaricus bisporus, followed by the oyster mushroom (Pleurotus spp.). China is the leading mushroom-producing country; Japan leads the world in number of edible species cultivated commercially.

Mushrooms may be cultivated on a wide variety of substrates. They are grown from mycelium propagated on a base of steam-sterilized cereal grain. This grain and mycelium mixture is called spawn, which is used to seed mushroom substrata.

Mushrooms contain digestible crude protein, all essential amino acids, vitamins (especially provitamin D-2), and minerals; they are high in potassium and low in sodium, saturated fats, and calories. Although they cannot totally replace meat and other high-protein food in the diet, they can be considered an important dietary supplement and a health food.

Fungi have been used for their medicinal properties for over 2000 years. Although there remains an element of folklore in the use of mushrooms in health and medicine, several important drugs have been isolated from mushroom fruiting bodies and mycelium. The best-known drugs obtained are lentinan from L. edodes, grifolin from Grifola frondosa, and krestin from Coriolus versicolor. These compounds are protein-bound polysaccharides or long chains of glucose, found in the cell walls, and function as antitumor immunomodulatory drugs. See Fungi, Medical mycology


A fungus belonging to the basidiomycetous order Agaricales.
The fruiting body (basidiocarp) of such a fungus.


symbol of suspicion. [Plant Symbolism: Flower Symbolica, 310]


1. the fleshy spore-producing body of any of various basidiomycetous fungi, typically consisting of a cap (see pileus) at the end of a stem arising from an underground mycelium. Some species, such as the field mushroom, are edible
2. the fungus producing any of these structures
References in periodicals archive ?
It aims for sustainable production of high quality and adaptable strains of mushroom species accessible to farmers, students, researchers, development workers, entrepreneurs and other mushroom growers.
South Mill's roots in the mushroom industry go back nearly a century to when the Pia family first began growing mushrooms in what is now the heart of the US mushroom industry.
We really feel like this area is kind of the wild mushroom belt of Oregon," Cascade Mycological Society member Heather Sielicki said.
When you buy a medicinal mushroom powder supplement, you must find out whether it has undergone hot water extraction.
Tariq Tanveer stressed on the adaptation of the agriculture tourism and mushroom culture as a new industry in the country while the Dr.
The Mushroom Council plans to continue to pilot The Blend with grocery chains in 2016.
Commercial cultivation of its different kinds including shell like mushroom, button like or European mushroom, Chinese mushroom or Shah Baloot kind mushroom, is considered suitable on cotton waste.
Showing interest in the promotion of edible mushrooms the management of the Thrumshingla National Park has taken some initiatives in collaboration with the Ura Mushroom Conservation and Tourism Association (UMCTA).
Mushrooms have been prized for thousands of years in traditional medicine for their antibacterial and anti-inflammatory properties, and now they are gaining attention in modern medicine for their role in immune function and cancer protection.
The South region posted the lowest weekly mushroom sales at $654 per store and was the lowest contributor at 1.
Soon, I plan to cultivate the mushroom Maitake that is also healing but unlike Reishi, this mushroom is eatable, "Beljmezov explains.
Now, we are establishing a cooperative for marketing purposes, where we will market the mushroom we grow and package it like the way strawberries are packed.