What Are the Parts of a Mushroom?

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The parts of the mushroom are the cap, gills or pores, spores, stem, ring, volva, mycelium and hypha. The mushroom can be divided into underground and aboveground sections.

The cap of the mushroom is the topmost part. It can be conical, flat or spherical and have a variety of textures depending on the type of mushroom and stage of development. Its function is to protect the gills, which are found on the underside of the cap and composed of thin, paper-like layers stacked side by side. Some mushrooms have pores instead of gills. These are tiny tubes packed tightly together that resemble a sponge. The gills and pores produce spores, the reproducing element of the mushroom.

The stem of the mushroom supports the cap and may not be present in certain types. The ring of the mushroom is found on the upper portion of the stem and is a remnant of a protective covering for the gills that ruptured as the cap grew. At the base of the stem is a similar remnant covering that once protected the entire mushroom. The underground portion of the mushroom is the mycelium. At its very bottom, it has hypha, which are root-like white filaments that collect water and organic matter for the mushroom.