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Biology LibreTexts

16.2: Introduction

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  • Though both of the groups of fungi we will learn about today contain microscopic subgroups and/or life stages, we still refer to them as the macrofungi because they account for nearly all of the fruiting bodies that we can easily see with the naked eye.

    Fungi make a diversity of fruiting structures, structures in which meiosis occurs to form spores. In the microfungi, you saw zygomycetes making their fruiting structures: zygosporangia. In the macrofungi, you will learn three different types of ascocarps and the anatomy of a basidiocarp, otherwise known as a mushroom. These structures are analogous to fruits produced on a tree. The rest of the fungal body (or, the rest of the tree, in this analogy) is the mycelium, buried within the substrate and busily acquiring food. Note: The mycelium is not the equivalent of the roots of the tree, but of the entire tree, including the roots, stems, and branches. Mushrooms are the ephemeral fruits of this structure, emerging for sexual reproduction.

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