Underside Of A Mushroom

When it comes to mushrooms, the focus is usually on the cap – its color, shape, and size. But what about the often-overlooked underside of the mushroom? As a mushroom enthusiast and grower, I have come to appreciate the intricate beauty and importance of this often hidden feature.

The Underside: Gills, Pores, or Teeth

Underneath the cap of a mushroom, there lies a world of fascinating structures. Some mushrooms have gills, which are thin, blade-like structures that radiate out from the stem like spokes on a wheel. Others have pores, which look like tiny holes or tubes. There are also mushrooms with teeth-like structures called spines. Each of these features plays a crucial role in the mushroom’s reproduction and growth.

The Role of Gills

Gilled mushrooms, such as the iconic Portobello or the delicate chanterelles, rely on their gills to produce and disperse spores. These spores are essential for the mushroom’s reproduction, and the intricate pattern of the gills maximizes the surface area for spore production.

Pores and Their Function

Pore-bearing mushrooms, like the beloved porcini, have a porous underside instead of gills. These pores act as a sort of spore nursery, where spores are collected and then released into the environment to germinate and form new mushroom colonies.

The Fascinating Spine Structure

Teeth-bearing mushrooms, such as the lion’s mane mushroom, boast tooth-like structures on their underside. These teeth play a similar role to gills and pores, providing a surface for spore production and dispersal.

Color and Texture

Exploring the underside of a mushroom also unveils a mesmerizing array of colors and textures. From the snowy white gills of the button mushroom to the deep rusty hues of the lobster mushroom’s pores, each mushroom species showcases its unique palette. The textures can vary from smooth to rough, adding to the allure of these natural wonders.

Signs of Maturity and Decay

Observing the underside of a mushroom can also provide insights into its maturity and health. As mushrooms mature, their gills or pores may change color, signaling the best time for harvesting. Additionally, signs of decay or infestation may first become visible on the underside, guiding growers in their cultivation practices.


Next time you come across a mushroom, take a moment to appreciate its often overlooked underside. The gills, pores, or teeth, coupled with their colors and textures, form a mesmerizing and vital part of these enigmatic organisms. Understanding the intricacies of the underside not only deepens our awe for mushrooms but also enhances our ability to cultivate and appreciate them.