Types of Fungi

Previous (Basidiomycetes)


Ascomycetes are 'spore shooters'. They are fungi which produce microscopic spores inside special, elongated cells or sacs, known as 'asci', which give the group its name. As the spores mature within an ascus, increasing fluid pressure builds up inside until eventually the top bursts off, rapidly releasing the spores. In some species, the spores may be shot out distances of up to 30cm.

Ascomycetes are very varied. They can be identified from the fruiting bodies which bear the asci and the way in which the asci develop.


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Fungi with spores produced inside a sac called an ascus.

Each ascus usually contains 8 spores (sometimes 4,   depending on the species)

Asci are microscopic structures

There are two main groups of Ascomycetes with fruiting bodies large enough to catch the eye. The groups are separated according to how the asci are carried on the fruiting body.


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Cup Fungi, Morels (Order Pezizales)
Earthtongues (Order Helotiales)
Truffles (Tuberales)
Cordyceps fungi (Order Clavicipitales)
Xylaria and Daldinia (Order Sphaeriales)
The asci are arranged in a layer on the surface of the fruiting body.

In the cup fungi, asci are found packed together into a layer which lines the inside surface of a cup-shaped disc.

The asci are grouped together into flask-shaped structures known as perithecia.

These are sunk into the surface of the fungal fruiting body. They open to the outside through a small hole, known as an ostiole.



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Discomycetes Pyrenomycetes

More on Ascomycetes here


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