Kingdom Fungi: Basidiomycetes

Fungi constitute a large and diverse group of organisms, which have many economic benefits. Fungi are classified into four major groups namely, Phycomycetes, Ascomycetes, Basidiomycetes and Deuteromycetes.

A group of filamentous fungi that is composed of hyphae and reproduces sexually through the formation of cup- shaped specialised structures called basidia are known as basidiomycetes. Basidium can be aseptate and septate.

Two types of mycelium generally found in basidiomycetes are primary mycelium and secondary mycelium.

Primary mycelium is short-lived and multiplies by non-motile oidia, conidia and pycniospores while secondary mycelium is long-lived and multiplies by chlamydospores, aecidiospores, uredospores, teleutospores etc. The three phases that produce secondary mycelium are Plasmogamy, Karyogamy and Meiosis.

The advanced forms of basidiomycetes produce fruiting bodies which are called basidiocarp. Members of basidiomycetes produce plant diseases like rust and smut. Some members are edible.

Agaricus is commonly known as mushroom. It is found on wet rotten wood, trunk of trees, damp humus rich soil.

Rusts are characterized by the formation of rusty pustules that contain spores. E.g., Puccinia glumarum, Puccinia purpurea, Uromyces pisi, Hemileia vestatrix.

Smuts produce thick-walled and black coloured resting smut spores. Examples of smuts include Ustilago tritici, Ustilago maydis, Ustilago avenae, Ustilago jensenii, Tilletia tritici.

Toad stools are poisonous mushrooms, which have white spores. E.g., Amanita caesarea, Amanita palloides, Amanita muscaria, Gynomitra esculenta.

Bracket fungi is also called Shelf fungi and found on tree trunks, logs and timber as brackets. E.g., Polyporus sulphureus, Polyporus betulinus, Polyporus abietinus.

Puff balls are stalked rounded structures, which liberate puffs of spores on maturation. E.g., Lycoperdon giganteum

Armillaria mellea is commonly known as honey mushroom is an edible mushroom.

Psilocybe Mexicana is commonly known as sacred mushroom.

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