Spore Art

Well it’s a bit of a coincidence… I recently had a comment on the blog asking how to produce spore sprints from mushrooms (a valuable step in conclusively identifying them). Since then, I’ve been meaning to do a post about spore prints, as I think they’re really beautiful. I finally got around to taking some prints and photographs, and then discovered a reference to me and spore prints on the very same person’s site – the beautiful blog A French Garden.

For anyone who wants to know, the way to take a spore sprint is as follows:

  • Pick your fungus (preferably at least two specimens) when it is just mature
  • Chop the stalk off as close to the cap as possible
  • Place the fungi on a smooth surface – preferably laying one on a white surface and one on a dark surface, so that you get two impressions of the spore colour
  • Ensure the mushroom is lying as flat as possible on the surface to get an even print. As you’ll see though, the uneven ones can be rather beautiful.
  • Leave for between 2 and 8 hours. The fungus will shed its spores, leaving anything from a perfect imprint of the gills through to a cloud of colour.

These ones I left a bit too long, and the mushrooms dried and shrunk. I really like the effect of the shrivelled fungi on the original spore prints though; I think they’re really beautiful

laccaria

shrivelled

The next one wouldn’t lie flat, so it gave an imprint on one side and a cloud of spores on the other…

wrinkly

The effect this created was rather spooky…

spore print and shadow

It really made me think of a woman’s face with wild hair, so I took some liberties in photoshop…

fungi face

This one’s a bit spooky too; the eyes, the eyes!

the eyes

And finally, I just love the detail of the spore print. Like an image in negative form, you can see every pattern of the gills. A sort of reproductive x-ray.

spore print

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