Spore Print – Green Spored Lepiota – South Florida
The spore print of a mushroom is an important diagnostic character in most handbooks for identifying mushrooms. It shows the color of the mushroom spores if viewed en masse.1 A spore print is made by placing the spore producing surface flat on a sheet of dark and white (or just white) paper or on a sheet of clear, stiff plastic, which facilitates moving the spore print to a darker or lighter surface for improved contrast; for example, it is easier to determine whether the spore print is pure white or, rather, very slightly pigmented. The mushroom is left for several hours, often overnight, in this manner. When the mushroom is removed, the color of the spores should be visible. Mycologists often use glass slides, which allow for quick examination of spores under a microscope.
A mushroom cannot be identified from its spore print alone; the spore print is only one characteristic used in making a taxonomic determination.