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The term Gasteromycetes was first used by Elias Fries in his Systema Mycologicum (1821-29) to designate the class in which were included only those fungi which produce their spores within a closed sporocarp. The use of the closed sporocarp as the chief characteristic for setting off the group from the other fungi led him to include some Myxomycetes and some Ascomycetes, both nongasteromycetous groupings. Today the term is used to denote the heterogeneous assemblage of higher Basidiomycetes in which the spores are formed within a closed basidiocarp. Dehiscence of the basidiocarp may or may not occur. In those instances in which dehiscence does occur, it takes place after the spores have become discharged from the basidia. The basidia, in most cases, are borne in a more or less distinct hymenium. The hymenium is indistinct at maturity in the Phallales and Nidulariales and lacking in the Sclerodermatales. In the Phallales the hymenium at maturity, deliquesces, becoming a pungent mass of spores, while in the Nidulariales the hymenium lines the walls of numerous cavities. Each cavity becomes surrounded by a firm, several-layered wall -which at maturity forms the tough outer coat of the spore-bearing bodies or peridioles. The basidia, in the Sclerodermatales, are formed at the tips of hyphae which arise from hyphal knots which are formed in the gleba. When mature, the spores form a dry powdery mass. A hymenium is present, forming a waxy or fleshy, spore-bearing region in the Hymenogastrales and a powdery, dry, spore-bearing region at maturity in the Lycoperdales.

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Proceedings of the Iowa Academy of Science





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©1955 Iowa Academy of Science, Inc.



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