There are two major groups within the Fungi. The ascomycetes and the basidiomycetes, which are seperated by the way they produce their spores. Spores are like the ‘seed’ of fungi, containing the genetic information from both parents which will then grow into a new fungi. In the macrofungi, which are the ones I chase about the forests, the bit that you see is the fruiting body, which is responsible for bearing the spores and letting the spores go out into the world to get their own mortgages and battle through life.
Remember, everytime you pluck a fungi from the forest you are murdering all the fungi babies… the point being, don’t pick them all or kick them around.
Ascomycetes have their spores in little cell sacs called asci. Usually they have about 8 spores per ascus, but of course, can have one or can have over a hundred. Cup shaped and disc shaped fungi are all ascomycetes, but there are a lot of other shapes which can be hard to tell without a microscope, or reading a book.
I don’t just make all this stuff up either. All information about fungi has come from numerous sources, the two biggest of which are mycologists, Genevieve Gates and David Ratkowsky via themselves and their ‘Field Guide to Tasmanian Fungi’, as well as ‘A Field Guide to Australian Fungi’ by Bruce Fuhrer.