Mushroom Facts



  • Mushrooms are umbrella-shaped fungi, many of which are edible.
  • Mushrooms feed off either living or decaying plants.
  • Poisonous mushrooms are called toadstools.
  • The umbrella-shaped part of the mushroom is called the fruiting body. Under the surface is a mass of fine stalk threads called the mycelium.
  • The threads making up the mycelium are called hyphae said these absorb food.
  • The fruiting body grows overnight after rain and lasts just a few days. The mycelium may survive underground for many years.
  • The fruiting body is covered by a protective cap. On the underside of this cap are lots of thin sheets called gills. These gills are covered in spores.
  • A mushroom’s gills can produce 16 billion spores in its brief lifetime.
  • The biggest mushrooms have caps up to 50 cm across and grow up to 40 cm tall.
  • The ubiquitous button mushroom forms part of many international dishes, from Italian risotto to the classic English fry-up.
  • Fairy rings are rings of bright green grass once said to have been made by fairies dancing. They are actually made by a mushroom as its hyphae spread outwards. Chemicals they release make grass grow greener. Gradually the mycelium at the centre dies while outer edges grow and the ring gets bigger.