This section differs somewhat from the other sections of the site. It describes soil fungi, the organisms that correspond to what are widely known as mushrooms. Their visible portion actually consists of their reproductive organs. Scientifically speaking, these organs collectively form what is termed the fruiting body or carpophore (from the Greek carpo = fruit and phore = bearing). The rest of the mushroom, the thallus, is hidden in the ground and can sometimes be observed as a tangled mass of tiny white filaments (hypha).
The following three diagrams, which illustrate the main structures of soil fungi, are provided as an identification tool.