Gasteromycetes is an invalid term once commonly used for classification of fungi. The accepted term is now Basidiomycetes.

Gasteromycetes included puffballs, earthstars, bird's nest fungi and stinkhorns. They differed from the pore and gill fungi in that all have a peridium over the spore-bearing surface. The peridium, usually several layers thick, ruptures and exposes the spores when they are ripe and fallen off the basidia. When spores are prepared for dispersal they may be scattered by wind, rain or animals. Black spore clouds will be released from a puffball if ruptured. In some bird's nest fungi the spore containing peridioles are splashed out of the cup by rain. In some, the sticky peridiole is equipped with a cord that helps to entangle and hold it to a surface until it splits and releases the spores.

Characteristically, the Gasteromycetes growth occured in soil; some growing in decaying wood. Some species classed in this group grew singly, others in clumps. Fruiting seasons were variegated according to each species and region, but typically the most favorable months were July, August and September.

References and Further Reading

  • A Golden Guide: Non-Flowering Plants ©1967
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